Skeletons in the Cabinet: A reshuffle that makes no sense
Shah Mahmood Qureshi was one of the few ministers who actually knew what he was doing - why was he removed?
After almost three years of unprecedented failures, the government finally overhauled the Cabinet this week.
Or has it?
The new and improved ‘small’ cabinet includes a lot of old faces but there have been plenty of surprises - and they have been shockers.
Ministry for Information and Broadcasting
Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, of heera mandi attack fame, who is often called to talk shows when a little ghunda element is needed has been given the Information and Broadcasting Ministry. Dr Awan is now responsible for ‘handling’ the media, and tactfully explaining the government’s policies and defending it's mistakes.
From now on, after every single cabinet briefing, we’ll see Dr Awan taking the stage. I have a sneaking suspicion that the leader has been given this portfolio simply to avoid the burden of the inevitable backlash of the government's decisions. After all, who better than someone like Dr Awan to stand her ground, and mollify the poisonous arrows of criticism?
She has an imposing personality and a booming voice, that is loud enough to be heard over any number or screaming journalists. So, instead of criticising the government for choosing someone who is not exactly known for her tact, perhaps we should applaud them for choosing someone who has the power to suppress any incoming attacks.
Ministry for Foreign Affairs
The second surprise has been devastating. The disappearance of former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi. I admit that I have a personal bias towards the peer-turned-politician (my husband has often accused me of having a crush on him) but who else can look equally charming as an educated leader and a peer in a huge pagri blessing mureeds! No wonder the power of his charismatic personality extended to the formidable Ms Clinton.
Apart from his charm, Shah Mehmood Qureshi was perhaps the only minister whose ministry was not failing miserably. Relations with the United States, our neighbors and the rest of the world have been improving. While relations with India seem to be stuck, who can really blame our ministry?
Choosing to overlook the minister is like letting go of a Draw 4 card in a crucial UNO game. According to reports the core reason for dropping Mr Qureshi was the Raymond Davis issue but how does the government hope to soothe the United States without the help of a minister who has a personal relationship with American leadership?
Who makes these decisions?
Of course, when the good eggs were dropped, it shouldn’t be any surprise that the bad eggs have been retained.
Ghulam Ahmed Bilour, the Minister for Railways has retained his precious portfolio. Perhaps the government has not removed him simply as a token of appreciation for the worst run operation in the history of Pakistan Railways. Extreme performances have to be applauded after all, no?
The one change that has left me grinning is the kicking of Raja Pervez Ashraf. His disappearance is not likely to improve the power crisis but atleast we would be spared of his infuriating idiotic speeches.
His ministry is now being handled by Prime Minister Gilani himself, who is currently responsible for eight ministries in addition to the premiership. But considering the way things are, I’m sure there would be no extra workload for Mr Gillani, after all, be it Water and Power or Housing and Works - nothing has been done for the last three years and that seriously isn’t about to change now.