ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday made a slight change in his cabinet by appointing Special Assistant to the PM (SAPM) on Accountability and Interior Mirza Shahzad Akbar his adviser with the same portfolio.
On the other hand, Adviser to the PM on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam has been made SAPM on climate change.
According to a notification issued by the Cabinet Division, Mr Akbar “shall cease to hold the office of the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability and Interior” consequent upon his appointment as adviser.
Mr Akbar’s appointment as adviser came on Prime Minister Imran Khan’s advice to President Dr Arif Alvi.
Talking to Dawn shortly after the issuance of the notification of his new appointment as adviser, Mr Akbar said after becoming adviser he had become able to attend proceedings of the National Assembly and the Senate and could reply to the opposition’s queries on behalf of the government.
He said under Article 93 of the constitution, an adviser to the prime minister enjoyed all rights of a member of parliament. However, he could not cast vote in any voting process in the two houses of parliament.
Under the same article, the prime minister can only appoint five advisers as cabinet members and therefore he [PM] made his adviser on climate change Malik Amin Aslam a SAPM to adjust Mr Akbar as his adviser on accountability and interior.
The monthly salary of adviser is said to be Rs20,000 higher than that of a SAPM.
Mr Akbar had been holding three positions — that of Special Assistant on Accountability and interior ministry as well as the chief of the Assets Recovery Unit (ARU) with the status of minister of state.
He played a key role in Panama Papers leak-related money laundering cases in which former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was convicted.
According to media reports, the PTI government gives credit to Mr Mirza for unearthing recent sugar scam in the country in which many bigwigs were exposed including the ruling PTI’s stalwart Jehangir Tareen, who was once a close aide to Prime Minister Khan, and sons of opposition leader Shahbaz Sharif.
In August 2018, Prime Minister Khan had appointed former National Accountability Bureau (NAB) deputy prosecutor Mirza Shahzad Akbar as his SAPM on accountability.
Published in Dawn, July 23rd, 2020