ISLAMABAD - Underperforming ministers could lose their jobs in a cabinet reshuffle after detailed performance reports were sent to the prime minister, senior government officials said yesterday.

The reports detail the successes and failures of every minister over the last two years and the details are now being studied by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, cabinet sources told The Nation.

The prime minister is said to be wary of sacking ministers outright but those who have performed poorly are expected to be demoted to junior posts. He is also under pressure, however, to accommodate a long list of ambitious PML-N National Assembly members who are lobbying hard for cabinet berths.

“The under performers could be shifted to less-important ministries if the PM decides to play risk-free. He had summoned these reports to check what the ministers had been doing in the last two years,” a source close to the decision makers told The Nation.

“This will be a key part of the reshuffle (when it takes place). We have received reports from almost all the ministers,” he added.

There are 19 federal ministers in the cabinet along with nine ministers of state, two advisors with federal minister status, and seven special assistants to the PM with minister of state rank.

Prime Minister Sharif had earlier directed all the ministries and divisions to present reports of their last two years’ achievements by October 5.

The reports will not be published but the achievements of better-performing ministers will be highlighted in the media to showcase the government’s success.

Others regarded as poor performers could be shunted aside to open cabinet slots to rising stars among junior ministers and up and coming MNAs.

Anusha Rehman, Amad Khan and Sheikh Aftab Ahmed are optimistic about elevation as federal ministers. The prime minister is also considering accommodating allies in the cabinet expansion when it takes place.

Political sources said Danial Aziz, Mian Abdul Manan, Mian Javed Latif, Qaisar Ahmad Sheikh, Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhary, Mohammed Talal Chaudhary, Senator Javed Abbasi and independent member Taj Mohammed Khan Afridi are among the hopefuls for cabinet slots.

Federal Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination Riaz Hussain Pirzada said the prime minister does not need the two-year performance report to sack or induct a minister.

“He is our chief and can remove any corps commander (minister) any time. The performance report indicates achievements but the PM does not need it for expanding or contracting his cabinet,” he explained.

Pirzada said he had sent his achievements report to the PM and was satisfied with his performance. “Although I am not vying for any other slot, I am happy over my achievements in the last two years. We provided funds to the provinces under the 18th amendment. We solved provinces issues on sports, ended litigations and so on.”

He will not be angry if sacked by the prime minister even though his record was clean and there was no allegation of corruption against him.

“Still if the PM takes a decision to remove me, I will accept it. After all he appointed me out of nowhere. The PM is the best judge. We cannot ask him to change or expand his team. It is his right,” he said.

Another federal minister and close confidante of PM Sharif said he was still undecided about cabinet changes as there were so many candidates for promotion and the premier does not want to create tension within the coalition.

“Sacking is very tricky so we should not expect it. But the PM may transfer non-performing ministers to irrelevant ministries. There could be additions now... no exclusions due to political reasons,” he said.

He is expected to resist pressure to oust ministers who joined Pervez Musharraf’s government after his 1999 coup. The doors for ‘repenting’ people cannot be closed, he has said.

Senior party figures like Amir Muqam, Awais Ahmed Khan Leghari, Sikandar Hayat Bosan, Zahid Hamid, Marvi Memon, Danyal Aziz and a few others were members of Musharraf’s team but now serve as ministers or senior PML-N leaders.

In 2001, several members of the PML-N broke away from the party and formed the PML (Quaid-e-Azam). Led by Mian Mohammed Azhar and later Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain. The PML-Q came to be known as the ‘King’s party’ because of its close affiliation with Pervez Musharraf.

Apparent establishment support helped the party win 25.7 per cent votes and 126 out of 342 National Assembly seats in the 2002 general elections. It went on to form governments in the centre and in three of the four provinces.