Sacking of Finance Minister Hafeez Shaikh is victory of PDM: Bilawal

Bilawal criticizes Centre for usurping Sindh’s share of NFC award

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has said that Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh being sacked as the Finance Minister is a victory for the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM).

On a social media website Twitter, Bilawal Bhutto termed the Finance Minister’s ouster as a triumph of PDM as the government needed Hafeez Shaikh to be elected as a senator to continue on his post. His senate defeat at the hands of Yousaf Raza Gillani made that impossible, he added.

Bilawal said “Now, the government admits that inflation is skyrocketing because of its failed policies. “Parliamentary opposition proved most effective vs this regime”, he added.

The government on Monday decided to remove Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh from the post of finance minister and replace him with Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar, Senator Shibli Faraz confirmed.

According to Faraz, Prime Minister Imran Khan had decided to bring in a new finance team in view of “the inflation that had taken place”. Azhar is the third finance minister to be appointed since the PTI came to power in 2018.

Prime Minister Imran “gave the portfolio of finance to Hammad Azhar who is a young and able minister so that he devises policies according to the ground realities of Pakistan and the poor get relief”.

He said that he did not know about Sheikh’s future in the government, adding that further likely changes in the cabinet will be disclosed by tomorrow.

The move comes weeks after Hafeez Shaikh, who enjoyed the status of minister since December last year, lost the bid for a Senate seat to PPP’s Yousuf Raza Gilani, leading to questions about his status in the federal cabinet.

Shaikh, who is not a member of Parliament, was previously an adviser to the premier on finance and was appointed as finance minister in December last year. However, as per Article 91 (9) of the Constitution, he cannot remain a minister for more than six months until he is elected to one of the houses. Thus, it was necessary for him to be elected to the Senate this time around in order to continue as the finance minister after June.

Following his loss, Lahore High Court Chief Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan had questioned how Sheikh could be in the office as an unelected member of the cabinet despite losing the Senate election.

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