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Web Desk
April 21, 2019

Media coverage of cabinet reshuffle


Web Desk
Sun, Apr 21, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The un-ceremonial removal of finance minister Asad Umar as part of cabinet reshuffle came as a shock on Thursday, with critics interpreting it as major setback for the PTI government.

Although the cabinet shake-up saw key members relinquish charge of their ministries, it was Umar's departure which shook some people to the core because Imran Khan had himself presented Asad Umar as an answer to Pakistan's economic woes since his joining the party in 2012.

The development drew attention of both local and international media as it came at a critical juncture when Asad was spearheading Pakistani team to get an IMF bailout package and overseeing implementation of measures to avoid being placed on FATF blacklist.

Almost all the major news channels analysed the circumstances that led to Asad Umar's removal, with several political commentators interpreting it as government failure to achieve the targets.

The cabinet reshuffle also embarrassed government which had PEMRA issuing show-case notices to some private broadcasters for airing "fake news" regarding Asad Umar.

Senior journalists criticized the government for inducting new cabinet members who had served Pakistan People's Party, one of the opposition parties both Imran Khan and his PTI have long held responsible for the current economic situation.

Dr Hafeez Sheikh and Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan had previously served at key position in Asif Zardari's government.

The appointment of Nadeem Babar as Special Assistant to prime minister has also triggered controversy as the latter is a major player of energy sector and still holds the shares of Orient Power--- an independent power producer (IPP).

Here is a collection of some TV shows that discussed the cabinet reshuffle with anchors, political commentators and senior journalists sharing their views on what led to the cabinet shake-up and the new inductions.

EXPRESS NEWS (TO THE POINT): Anchor Mansoor Ali Khan compared PM Imran Khan with a king and in an imaginary scenario narrates the whole situation of what was going in the prime minister's mind while he was making changes.

ARY NEWS (SWAL YE HAY): The anchor criticised the ruling party for going against its own narrative of sending the corrupt elements out by inducting Azam Swati again. Swati was removed when an investigation proved that he misused his authority. She also mentioned controversial inclusion of Brig (r) Ijaz Shah and Nadeem Babar in the cabinet.

NEO TV (SEEDHI BAAT): Taking a harsh line on Imran Khan's ability to select right man for the right job, the anchor said today the nation has come to know that neither Asad Umar was an expert on economy nor Imran Khan was a visionary. If Asad Umar has failed, how Imran Khan is successful who appointed him.

DUNYA NEWS (THINK TANK): Renowned columnist, Ayaz Ameer says the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf was given 'support' without which it could not have formed the government. The inefficiency of PPP and PML-N was exposed in 4-5 years but the PTI has been exposed in just 8 months.

HUM NEWS (BARRI BAAT): Commenting on the induction of number of non-elected members in the Federal Cabinet, the anchor asked Dr Abdul Qayyum Sulehri, a prominent analyst, as to how would the party justify so many technocrats at key positions? The anchor also stressed upon the conflict of interest in appointment of Nadeem Babar.

DAWN NEWS (ZARA HAT KAY): In an ironical and satirical tone it is being discussed how we were convinced for 8 years that Asad Umar will set everything right. The incoming Finance Minister will not have a magic wand. Then why is he removed? Why a failed formula has been applied again?

AAJ NEWS: The participants highlighted the grouping and infighting within the PTI. One of them questioned the wisdom behind appointment of Dr Hafeez Sheikh as he has been at the same position in the past.

DUNYA NEWS (THINK TANK): Giving details of some meetings between Prime Minister Imran Khan and Asad Umar, Usman Ghani says that the finance minister was told by the premier that rising inflation is hitting the masses badly. Neither it is the failure of Imran Khan nor the team; it is the failure of someone else, he concluded.

EXPRESS NEWS (CENTRE STAGE): Referring to the induction of Hafeez Sheikh and Dr Fidous Ashiq Awan, Asma Sherazi says it appears that the PPP cabinet is back. There are about 17 advisers now who are technocrats as if they have magic wand to solve all the problems.

DUNYA NEWS (THINK TANK): In his anaylsis, Haroon-ur-Rasheed questions the credibility of Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan. Ministries and country cannot be run like this, he opined.

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92 NEWS (NIGHT EDITION): The anchor criticized the decision saying it creates doubts about the government's ability to take right decisions. Is the failure of PTI's poster boy Asad Umar a failure of the government? If a person cannot perform in one ministry how will he perform in another?

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HUM NEWS (PAKISTAN TONIGHT): Appointment of Hafeez Sheikh as government's financial 'Maseeha' is the trickiest point which goes against the PTI's policy. The party has been telling the masses that PPP and PML-N have ruined the country then how come one of their finance ministers can change the destiny.

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GNN NEWS (VIEWPOINT): The anchor raises the question whether the country can also be run like a cricket team? Can the country afford new experiments? The captain has not been able to select his team wisely so he has had to make so many changes in just 8 months.

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