In a first, the foreign minister has been included in the Council of Common Interests (CCI) while the finance minister has been excluded, it emerged on Friday.

According to a notification from the CCI Secretariat, dated March 25, President Asif Ali Zardari constituted the council on Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s advice with effect March 21.

The newly constituted council includes the premier, Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Minister of States and Frontier Regions Amir Muqam, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, Punjab Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Ali Amin Gandapur and Balochistan Chief Minister Sarfraz Bugti.

Notably absent is Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb. He was also initially excluded from the composition of the Economic Coordi­nation Committee last week before PM Shehbaz decided to hand over the committee’s chairmanship to Aurangzeb.

Dar is also heading the Cabinet Committee on Privatisation. The committee is one that has “historically been chaired by the finance minister”, according to journalist Khurram Husain.

The finance minister was part of the CCI in the previous caretaker government, the PTI government but not in the Pakistan Democratic Movement-led government.

Meanwhile, Information Minister Attaullah Tarar said on X that “nobody has been replaced or substituted”, referring to the constitutional procedure for the CCI’s composition.

According to the Constitution, the CCI is responsible for formulating and regulating policies in relation to matters included in the federal legislative list and exercising supervision and control over related institutions.

“The council shall be constituted within thirty days of the prime minister taking oath of the office,” it states, adding that the CCI should at least meet once in 90 days. However, in case of an emergency, the PM can convene a meeting on urgent basis at n the request of the provinces.

The decisions of the council are taken on the basis of majority.

As per Article 153 of the Constitution, the CCI members include the prime minister, four provincial chiefs and three federal ministers to be nominated by the premier.

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