ISLAMABAD - Dissatisfied with the output of some ministers, the PML-N government is contemplating a mini reshuffle in the federal cabinet with an aim to reallocate portfolios of some ministers and bring in some junior ministers to improve working of key ministries, it was reliably learnt. But there are almost no chances of some big heads to roll as the government of Premier Sharif has entered the eighth month, but finds itself in a tight corner due to increasing terrorism incidents and sluggish economic indicators.
Warnings as well as strict pieces of advice will be issued to underperformers in the federal cabinet for now, sources said.
Allocation of portfolios to the two recently inducted federal ministers and a minister of state is also part of the whole process, a source in the Prime Minister’s Office said. Federal Minister Akram Khan Durrani and Minister of State Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri belong to JUI-F while Federal Minister Abbas Khan Affridi is from Fata.
At the moment, there are 20 federal ministers, 10 ministers of state, three advisers and four special assistants to the prime minister. “Due to back-to-back engagements of the premier on the front of economy, law and order and foreign affairs, there has been less focus on evaluating performance of the ministers and ministries, but the PM is well aware that all his team members have to deliver, and those having put in less efforts will be warned this time with a space to improve efficiency without delay,” an official privy to the developments said.
“Important ruling party legislators, some of them ministerial hopefuls who had enlisted themselves three to four months back to meet the PM are still waiting desperately,” an official said. He added even some important ministers are finding it hard to meet the premier. A federal minister with a military background is especially annoyed over the situation, it was learnt. “Though the interior minister is currently handling these affairs, but the premier’s inner circle is looking for a trusted political personality to become a bridge between the party legislators and his office,” a PML-N insider said. “The interior minister may be very close to the Punjab chief minister, but is not part of the inner circle of Premier Sharif. There are concerns in Sharif’s inner circle way Ch Nisar handles things and has an assertive approach,” he added. But, given his stature in the party and Potohar region, the ruling party elite find no substitute for Nisar at the moment, the party and government circles believe.
After getting a minister of state inducted in the Interior Ministry, there are discussions to bring in ministers of state in finance and information ministries as well. Performance of Rashid and Dar has recently come under spotlight, inviting criticism from the ruling party legislators as well as some federal ministers, the sources revealed. “Though Ishaq Dar and Pervaiz Rashid are part of the kitchen cabinet of the prime minister, given the size and responsibilities of these ministries, induction of junior ministers is need of the hour and he premier realises this,” said a cabinet minister in knowledge of the background developments. The same is the case with the Finance Ministry. During the PPP and Musharraf regimes, the information and finance ministries were being run by federal and ministers of state.
The ruling party’s bigwigs are these days lobbying hard to get some of the party legislators adjusted as junior ministers and rest as parliamentary secretaries amidst growing restlessness in the party cadres.
“There are concerns in the party and government cadres about the working of the Information Ministry and the ways to improve its effectiveness have already been recommended to the premier by these persons,” a PML-N leader said. “A single federal minister cannot do justice to the information ministry, wings and affiliated departments,” he added.