PM Imran removes Finance Minister Hafeez Shaikh

Revenue Minister Hammad Azhar will be given an additional charge of finance ministry, says Senator Shibli Faraz


News Desk March 29, 2021
PHOTO: AFP

Prime Minister Imran Khan has decided to remove Abdul Hafeez Shaikh from the post of finance minister, Federal Information Minister Senator Shibli Faraz confirmed on Monday while speaking to private news channel.

He said that Federal Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar will be given an additional charge of finance ministry.

Senator Shibli said the decision has been taken as PM Imran was not satisfied with the performance of Shaikh.

According to the information minister, the prime minister has formed a new economic team to provide relief to the masses. “PM Imran wants to bring down inflation in the country.”

Also read: SAPM Nadeem Babar asked to step down over fuel crisis: Asad Umar

Last week, Premier Imran had asked his special assistant on petroleum Nadeem Babar and the secretary petroleum to step down in order to ensure transparency in the fuel crisis probe.

Sources privy to the development told The Express Tribune that the premier was expected to make further changes in the federal cabinet as he was reportedly not happy with the performance of some key ministers’ performance.

“The prime minister will announce the changes made in the federal cabinet by next Monday,” Senator Shibli had told The Express Tribune on March 26.

The senator had also said that discussions were still underway as to whose portfolio should be replaced with whom and why. “Performance is the parameter,” he said, adding that potential was the other factor.

Shaikh, who was earlier appointed as PM’s adviser, was made federal minister in December last year for a period of six months after the Islamabad High Court (IHC) ruled that special assistants and advisers to the prime minister are not members of the cabinet and therefore cannot be part of cabinet proceedings.

Also read: Opposition demands PM’s resignation

Reacting to the premier’s decision, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said the removal of Shaikh is the victory of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), an alliance of major opposition parties.

In a tweet from his official handle, he said the defeat of Shaikh in recently-held Senate election by PDM joint candidate — Yousuf Raza Gillani — led to his ouster from the cabinet

“Sacking Finance minister is victory of PDM. PTIMF [PTI-IMF] minister needed to be elected to continue in post & senate defeat made that impossible,” he wrote on the microblogging site.

Coming down hard on the PTI government, the PPP leader also said, “Now government admits inflation is skyrocketing because of its failed policies.”

Minutes after being given the portfolio of finance minister, Federal Minister Hammad Azhar said: “I am honoured to be entrusted with the additional charge of Finance by the Prime Minister. Pakistan's economy has made significant gains towards stabilisation since 2018. We shall continue to consolidate these gains and strengthen the growth momentum.”

Taking to Twitter, Hammad pledged that the PTI government will work hard to protect the people from the aftermath of Covid-19.

“We navigated economic fallout of covid-19 fairly well. The world is witnessing supply chain disruptions & rise in food prices. We shall endeavour to protect our people from these shocks. With hard work & integrity, we will InshAllah build Naya Pakistan under leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan,” he added.

 

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