President Arif Alvi has accepted Prime Minister Imran Khan's request to appoint retired Brig Ijaz Shah as the federal minister for parliamentary affairs, Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry announced on Friday.
Shah is a Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) MNA elected from the constituency of NA-118, Nankana Sahib-II.
Political controversy is expected over Shah’s appointment, as he had been a trusted aide of former president Pervez Musharraf. He also served as director general of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) from 2004 to 2008, and was accused of using the IB for political victimisation.
Slain PPP chairperson Benazir Bhutto had named him in a letter as someone who should be investigated if she was assassinated. She suspected him to be conspiring to eliminate her, but he was never implicated in her assassination case.
PPP Spokesperson Nafeesa Shah today expressed the party's reservations at Shah's appointment.
"Shaheed Benazir Bhutto's suspected murderer has been appointed as a minister by Imran Khan," Nafeesa said soon after the appointment was announced.
"Benazir had named him as [one of] her killers in an email. She had said that if she was assassinated, Shah should be investigated for it. After Shah's addition [to the federal cabinet], there is no difference between Pervez Musharraf and Imran Khan's cabinet," Nafeesa said.
She added, "Shah played an important role in political engineering during Musharraf's time."
Last month, multiple sources within the federal government had said that Shah was to be appointed the prime minister's national security adviser (NSA). Before today's announcement, it was also speculated that he might be given the interior ministry.
The national security adviser’s position has been lying vacant since the PTI came to power.