Absence of ministers from Bani Gala meet raises eyebrows

Published: April 21, 2019
File photo of PM Imran Khan chairing a meeting of the federal cabinet. PHOTO: RADIO PAKISTAN

File photo of PM Imran Khan chairing a meeting of the federal cabinet. PHOTO: RADIO PAKISTAN

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has ordered the ministries concerned to provide maximum relief to the people during the holy month of Ramazan, Special Assistant to the PM on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said on Saturday.

“We are also making sure that the next budget provides relief to the public,” she told reporters after a meeting of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders chaired by the prime minister at Bani Gala.

“The prime minister has directed ministers to keep a check on power outages and price hike before the advent of Ramazan.”

The ministers, who had their portfolios reshuffled in the recent cabinet shake-up, stayed away from the meeting.

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They included Fawad Chaudhry, Shehryar Afridi and Ghulam Sarwar Khan. Amir Mehmood Kiani, who was removed from the post of the national health services minister and former finance minister Asad Umar were also absent.

To a query, Awan said the participants of meeting were PTI spokespersons and Chaudhry had already informed the party that he was going to Lahore. “He [Chaudhry] will attend the next meeting,” she added.

Former health minister Kiani has not been in contact even with his close friends since his removal. “His phone numbers are turned off and those visiting his house are also unable to get in touch with him,” a close friend of Kiani told The Express Tribune.

Awan said the prime minister had assigned targets to his new economic team.

“The prime minister has asked the new finance adviser, Dr Hafeez Shaikh, and his team to come up to the expectations of the people in dealing with the economic crisis,” she added.

Responding to a question, Awan said Umar would return soon and defend the vision of the prime minister.

The special assistant said Power Minister Omar Ayub had been assigned the additional portfolio of the petroleum ministry.

The PTI leaders who attended the meeting included Faisal Vawda, Umar Ayub, Sheikh Rashid, Murad Saeed, Khusro Bakhtiar, Hammad Azhar, Usman Dar, Faisal Javed and Nadeem Afzal Chan.

According to sources, the prime minister told the participants that the ministers who failed to serve the people would be sent packing.

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He also praised Umar for his services and said the former finance minister would be inducted in the cabinet if he wanted.

The prime minister maintained that Umar’s return would be beneficial.

Imran also reposed his trust in his new adviser on finance. He said Dr Shaikh knew the global economy well and would handle the affairs efficiently.

The prime minister directed the ministers to stick to facts while speaking to the media and not create panic among the people.

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Reader Comments (1)

  • NKAli
    Apr 21, 2019 - 11:53AM

    Why am I not surprised? Because these ‘do-no-gooders’ are no longer in the cabinet or hold any government posts. They can remain in the party but why be privy to what is discussed? Yessir, IK is right in not having them in the cabinet meeting. Salams Recommend

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