A few days after Prime Minister Imran Khan indicated at some changes in the federal cabinet on the basis of 100-day performances of the ministers, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry and Minister for Railways Shiekh Rashid on Saturday engaged in a brief exchange of statements.
Rashid kicked off a controversy earlier in the day by saying that he had spoken with the prime minister, who wanted him to take over as the information minister. Chaudhry, who is currently in the UK, retorted on Twitter immediately, saying that he was ready to quit in favour of Rashid. Later, the railways minister backtracked on his statement.
The controversy started when Rashid was heard whispering to an individual sitting next to him in a news conference in Lahore that he had four meetings with Premier Imran on Friday, in which he (the prime minister) asked him (Rashid) to join the information ministry.
“I told him to first let him [Information Minister Chaudhry] come back from London … he is in London on an eight-day picnic,” Rashid was quoted by Express News as saying. “I will say I love you, thank you,” he replied when asked what would be his response if Imran offered him Chaudhry’s post.
Chaudhry, who returned from an official visit to the United Kingdom on Saturday, later hit out at Rashid, saying only the prime minister would decide who is best-suited for the job.
Chaudhry also took to the social media platform to respond to Rashid’s remarks. “I will be more than happy to vacate my position for Sheikh Rashid sb and serve as MNA,” the information said in a tweet.
He also went on to say in the same tweet: “We all use trust powers bestowed by the people of Pakistan and the PM decides who is best fit in the role. However, till I am minister I’ll not bow to blackmailing of advertisement lobby.”
Hours later, the railways minister backtracked on the claims attributed to him. Though he admitted the use of words “London picnic”, saying that he was only “joking” when he mentioned them. “There is no chance I would replace Fawad Chaudhry,” he said while speaking to a private TV channel.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Imran hinted at reshuffle in the federal cabinet, while interacting with a select group of senior journalists in Islamabad. Imran said he had received progress reports from the federal cabinet, especially on the cost-cutting measures they had taken.
“The government will act on these reports … and it might make some changes in the cabinet,” he remarked. The decision of any changes in the cabinet will be made by the next week, he added.