ISLAMABAD - Just two days after the much-discussed reshuffle in the federal cabinet, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday met with his new team members and assigned responsibilities and set targets for them so as to provide relief to the masses.

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) held an important meeting at Bani Gala here. PM Imran Khan chaired the meeting to discuss future roadmap for the party after a few changes in the cabinet. The key player in the given circumstances, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, met the prime minister and discussed issues related to economy, IMF talks, FATF parleys and the coming budget, according to the sources.

The sources said Dr Sheikh apprised the premier regarding talks with officials of the International Monetary Fund.

Dr Sheikh took charge of his office as finance adviser on Saturday. He will also have the charge of Revenue and Economic Affairs Division. Sheikh’s designation will be at par with that of a federal minister.

The meeting between Prime Minister Imran and the finance czar mainly focused on the country’s economic woes, according to the sources.

Talking to media after the meeting, Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Division, told media men that the new finance and economic teams have been instructed to devise policies that are aligned with the prime minister’s vision and priorities. “They [Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh and his team] were realised how to meet expectations of the 220 million people of the country.

“The [economic] team was given targets about how to pull the country out of the economic crisis,” she told the media.

According to the sources in the party, the adviser has been given a go-ahead to continue talks with the IMF to build on the IMF programme from where the former minister had left. Sheikh had served as the finance minister from 2010 to 2013 during the tenure of the Pakistan People’s Party. He also remained in the cabinet of former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf.

It is to mention here that the premier, in a major cabinet reshuffle, had asked Asad Umar to step down from his post and take the portfolio of ministry of energy. The former minister turned down the offer and announced not to take any other ministry. The portfolio was then handed over to Sheikh on Thursday.

Firdous Ashiq Awan told the media that Federal Minister for Power Division Omar Ayub Khan has been given the additional charge of the ministry of petroleum — a position held by Ghulam Sarwar Khan until the recent cabinet reshuffle. She said harmony is being created




 to bridge the disconnection between the people’s expectations and the government’s decisions, if there is any. Awan said various ministries have been given targets to provide relief to the masses, especially in the month of Ramazan.

The Special Assistant said that the meeting also discussed priorities pertaining to Prime Minister’s visit to Iran and China. She said prime minister will be going to Quetta today (Sunday) to pay a visit to the Hazara families and offer his condolences over last week’s Hazarganji suicide attack.

Awan, in her first media talk since her appointment as the special assistant, said that the prime minister will be in Quetta Sunday to inaugurate a housing scheme as well.

She urged the opposition parties to play their role and support the government in getting rid of the problems facing the people of Pakistan but at the same time warned that if they construe the government’s oft-repeated desire for reconciliation as a sign of weakness then that would spawn problems.

Former information minister Fawad Chaudhry did not attend the meeting. When asked if Chaudhry and others’ absence was a sign of their unhappiness, Awan clarified that this was not a cabinet meeting but rather a spokespersons’ meeting.

Fawad Chaudhry was also removed and was appointed as minister of science and technology. “Fawad Chaudhry is a member of the spokespersons’ committee but he had informed in advance that he would be travelling to Lahore. He will be part of the next meeting,” she said.