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ISLAMABAD: The government on Friday issued official notifications about the reshuffle in the federal cabinet that has sparked a heated debate across the country about the performance of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government.

A notification issued from Prime Minister Office (PMO) says President Arif Alvi, on the advice of Prime Minister Imran Khan, has accepted the resignation of former finance minister Asad Umar. He has not taken any other ministry though he himself tweeted he was offered the ministry of energy.

Another notification says President Alvi has appointed Dr Hafeez Sheikh as adviser to the prime minister on finance, revenue and economic affairs with the status of a federal minister.

Ministers were kept in the dark over changes in portfolios; Sarwar rejects media reports about refusal to accept aviation ministry

A separate notification says PTI leader Azam Khan Swati, who resigned from the office of minister of science and technology last December after facing a case in the Supreme Court, has been appointed minister for parliamentary affairs.

Retired Brig Ijaz Shah, who was recently made minister of parliamentary affairs, has now been appointed interior minister.

Meanwhile, Firdaus Ashiq Awan, who has been appointed special assistant to the PM on information, has assumed the charge of her office. She has replaced former information minister Fawad Chaudhry and will serve as the government’s spokesperson.

It has been learnt that the government has divided the information ministry into three segments as the portfolio of culture is being held by Prime Minister Khan and broadcast is being dealt by Special Assistant to the PM Yousuf Baig Mirza.

Fawad Chaudhry has assumed the cha­rge as minister for science and technology.

One of the founding members of the PTI — Amir Mehmood Kiani — who has been removed from the office of minister for national health services, regulation and coordination, has tendered his resignation. A notification said the president had accepted his resignation.

Ex-petroleum minister accepts new job

Former petroleum minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan has rejected media reports that he has refused to accept the ministry of aviation and said he will continue to work under the leadership of Prime Minister Khan in any capacity. Mr Khan said he went to assume the charge of his office but could not do so due to Friday prayers.

“Earlier, I had not asked Imran Khan for the petroleum ministry but accepted his orders and became petroleum minister,” Mr Khan said. “Similarly, I will accept whatever he [prime minister] wants now.”

However, he said he was not expecting that his and Asad Umar’s portfolios would be changed because “we were making sincere efforts to rid the country of crisis”.

On the other hand, the former petroleum minister agreed that the gas tariff under different slabs announced under his command was “unjustified” and “wrong” and said he had admitted the fault many times in the media.

Meanwhile, Dawn has learnt that the federal ministers whose portfolios were changed in Thursday’s cabinet reshuffle were “unaware” of the prime minister’s move. Sources close to them said that the decision regarding the cabinet reshuffle was shocking for the ministers.

A source close to former information minister Fawad Chaudhry said that Mr Chaudhry came to know through the media that his portfolio had been changed.

Shortly before the reshuffle, Mr Chaudhry had attended a meeting on energy at the PM Office and he was named in the official press release about the meeting as information minister.

Mr Chaudhry is said to be confused over the reasons behind his removal from the information ministry.

A senior official at the PMO said that Prime Minister Khan had not shared his decision regarding changes in his cabinet with anyone before it was officially announced.

Published in Dawn, April 20th, 2019