The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government has decided to expand the provincial cabinet and reassign the portfolio of health ministry.
“In the existing cabinet, five new ministers, three advisers and three special assistants to chief minister will be inducted, while a ministerial reshuffle will also be made in the health department,” said K-P Minister for Information Shah Farman, while briefing members of the media at Civil Officers Mess. The decision was made during a cabinet meeting held under Chief Minister (CM) Pervez Khattak.
Mushtaq Ghani, Qalandar Lodhi, Ziaullah Afridi, Ikramullah, and Mian Jamshiduddin would be added to the CM’s existing team, while Amjad Afridi, Shakeel Khan, and Akbar Ayub will be brought on board as advisers. Farman also revealed the names of three new special assistants to the CM – Arif Yousaf, Ishtiaq Urmar, and Abdul Musqeem.
Farman announced that Shaukat Yousafzai would be replaced by Awami Jamhoori Ittihad Pakistan’s (AJIP) Shahram Khan Tarkai as Health Minister, and would now be Minister of Industry as well as Higher Education.
It is the second time Yousafzai has been reshuffled. He was initially appointed information minister and two months later he was transferred to the health ministry.
Updating the media on other decisions taken during the cabinet meeting, Farman said the K-P Injured Persons (Medical Aid) Bill 2013 had been approved with necessary amendments. The legislation aimed to provide emergency care.
The K-P Senior Citizens Bill 2014 was also approved, which will enhance welfare and provision of facilities for people of age 60 and above.
K-P Censorship of Motion Pictures Bill 2013 (Films, CDs, Videos, Stage Dramas and Shows) was also presented during the meeting. A committee was formed under his (Farman’s) chairmanship, and comprised other cabinet members, such as Shaukat Ali Yousafzai and Mian Jamshiduddin Kakakhel, which aimed to review the drafted bill.
Regarding amendments in K-P Ministers (salaries, allowances, and privileges) Act 1975, Farman said that a committee was formed to prepare recommendations and proposals regarding any increases in cabinet member remuneration.
Behind the changes
A coalition party MPA said on the condition of anonymity that the cabinet changes was a result of rifts within the leadership of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).
While talking to The Express Tribune, the MPA said that the health ministry was taken away from Shaukat Yousafzai due to his poor performance. According to him, his leadership of the ministry was discussed during multiple PTI meetings.
Awami National Party MPA Sardar Hussain Babak claimed that the reshuffling of the provincial cabinet in less than a year proved that the PTI government had failed in its leadership.
PTI Chairman Imran Khan has already expressed both publically and within meetings with coalition parties, that if the provincial cabinet failed to deliver he would reshuffle the cabinet.
A PTI leader told The Express Tribune that in a recent meeting in Islamabad, Imran Khan expressed his concerns over the performances of his party ministers.
According to him, Khan had warned them that he will keep an eye on the performance of all the ministers in the K-P government and if anyone failed to perform for three to five months, they would be reshuffled.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 29th, 2014.