Controversy erupts over information portfolio; Chaudhry offers to step down in Rashid's favour


In an interesting turn of events, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry offered to voluntarily step down from his post in favour of Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid after the latter reportedly claimed that Prime Minister Imran Khan had discussed a proposed portfolio “reshuffle” with him.

Sheikh Rashid’s ‘controversial’ comments were aired by a section of private media channels, showing him talking to a person before the start of a press conference in Lahore.

During the ‘off-camera’ discussion, the railways minister claimed that the prime minister had called him four times to deliberate on the matter. Moreover, passing remarks about Chaudhry’s recent trip to the United Kingdom, Rashid reportedly said that the minister was having a “picnic in London”.

As soon as news about these comments started making rounds on social media, Chaudhry took to Twitter saying he will be “more than happy to vacate [his] position for Sheikh Rasheed and serve as MNA”.

“We all use trust [and] powers bestowed by [the] people of Pakistan, and [the] PM decides who is best fit in the role,” the information minister said. He, however, made it clear that until he is a minister he will “not bow to blackmailing of advertisement lobby”.

Later in the day, Rashid appeared on a private media channel and tried to issue a ‘clarification’ about his earlier remarks, saying Chaudhry was like a younger brother to him.

“I have no intention to take over the information ministry. Even if the premier offers me the portfolio I will politely refuse,” Rashid said while talking to media.

It is pertinent to mention that the prime minister has reportedly summoned a meeting of the federal cabinet on Monday to review the performance of federal ministers on an individual level.