Hafeez appointed finance adviser in major cabinet reshuffle

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan reshuffled his cabinet with Hafeez Sheikh appointed finance adviser, after the departure of Finance Minister Asad Umar.

The cabinet reshuffle comes at a time of growing pressure with the rupee losing 30 percent of its value since the start of 2018, stirring sharp inflation.

Ijaz Ahmed Shah has been appointed as the interior minister, whereas Fawad Chaudhry handed over Ministry of Science and Technology, according a statement issued from PM House.

Minister of State Shehryar Afridi has been handed over the Ministry of States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON), while Ghulam Sarwar Khan appointed minister for aviation the statement said.

Azam Swati has been appointed as federal minister for parliamentary affairs, it said, adding that Federal Minister for Privatisation Mohammad Mian Soomro shall cease to hold additional portfolio of Aviation Division. 

The statement further read that Dr Zafarullah Mirza, Firdous Ashiq Awan and Nadeem Babar have been appointed special assistants to the prime minister for national health services, information and petroleum division, respectively.

Abdul Hafeez Sheikh has been been appointed as special assistant to prime minister on finance, it added.

Sheikh, a Pakistani political economist of international repute with over 30 years of experience, has served as the finance minister from 2010 to 2013.

In 2012, he became an active member of Pakistan Peoples Party and successfully contested in the 2012 senate elections.

After leaving the government, Sheikh was general partner of an international investment company, headquartered in New York, which set up a $1.38 Billion fund for investments in Asia.

Health Minister Amir Mehmood Kayani have been deprived of his portfolio, according to the media.

The cabinet overhaul comes hours after Finance Minister Asad Umar stepped down from his post.

Umar announced earlier in the day that he will no longer be part of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s federal cabinet.

“As part of a cabinet reshuffle PM desired that I take the energy minister portfolio instead of finance. However, I have obtained his consent to not take any cabinet position. I strongly believe @ImranKhanPTI is the best hope for Pakistan and inshallah will make a naya Pakistan,” he tweeted.

Umar, the former CEO of Engro, was handpicked by PM Khan as the finance minister to improve economic affairs of the country.

The resignation by the finance minister followed sacking of Petroleum Minister Ghulam Sarwar over unsatisfactory performance, according to media.