What the cabinet reshuffle has made abundantly clear is that Prime Minister Imran Khan will not shy away from exercising his prerogative of choosing his own team to lead. The stern response by the PM has laid to rest accusations of a ‘helicopter premiership’, where certain individuals may have been perceived to be indispensable and untouchable. It is no secret that Mr Jahangir Tareen remained one of PM Khan’s closest, most reliable aides. Some even ventured to paint him in the role of a deputy prime minister; powerful and sheltered from the winds of change.

The fallout from the sugar price hike report has created fissures that perhaps did not exist before. Mr Tareen seems to have been excluded from the inner circle at the behest of an increasingly assertive PM. Mr Tareen’s most recent interview shows him admitting a breakdown in communication and flirting with the idea of hitting back with ‘hidden facts’. In any case, it would appear that party members cannot expect past approval alone to shield them from accountability. Wrong decisions will be punished. The sense of insecurity amongst complacent members is palpable.

The coronavirus pandemic is exacerbating Pakistan’s economic woes. It has compelled the Prime Minister to launch a fundraising drive to meet a plethora of challenges presented by the ongoing crisis. The country could seriously use more protective equipment, ventilators, medicines, dedicated quarantine and treatment spaces as well as funds to launch relief packages for the most vulnerable. There may be some wisdom in pursuing a path of recovery for billions of rupees granted in lieu of sugar subsidies. After all, at the heart of the issue lies the need to provide for the people and protect them against special interests.