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Pakistan

April 6, 2020

PM Imran changes portfolios of Khusro Bakhtiar, Hammad Azhar in latest cabinet reshuffle

Pakistan

Mon, Apr 06, 2020
The News/via Geo.tv/Files

ISLAMABAD: Food Security Minister Khusro Bakhtiar on Monday tendered his resignation from the post, saying in his letter he was being maligned needlessly over the sugar crisis, just days after he was named in a probe over the grains crisis in Pakistan.

Khusro Bakhtiar's letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan, tendering his resignation as the minister of national food security. The News/Handout

"I was given the charge of food and security  [and research] only four months ago," Bakhtiar said. "I kept stock of sugarcane production in the country in line with my ministry" requirements, he added, noting that he was stepping down "to avoid any clashes related to personal gain".

A report by the Federal Investigation Agency released last week claimed that top PTI members — including Jahangir Khan Tareen, a close friend of Prime Minister Imran Khan, as well as Bakhtiar's brother — were among those who gained from the recent sugar crisis in the country.

An investigation into the crisis had been ordered by PM Imran back in February.

The prime minister, however, gave Bakhtiar the charge of ministry of economic affairs, replacing Hammad Azhar.

Tareen, the PM's aide, was  removed as the chairperson of the "task force on agriculture in light of findings of Sugar and Wheat Inquiry Report", former Punjab government spokesperson said.

However, Tareen questioned it, saying on Twitter "I was never chairman of any task force".

"Pl get your facts right people," he added.

The PM's adviser on commerce, textile, industry and production, and investment, Abdul Razak Dawood, was also removed from his position, sources informed Geo News. It was, however, unclear if he had been given another post.

In other changes in the federal cabinet made by PM Imran, Syed Fakhar Imam was appointed as the national food security minister, MQM-P's Syed Aminul Haq as minister of telecommunications, former economic affairs minister as minister of industries, and Azam Swati as narcotics control minister.

Babar Awan was appointed as adviser on parliamentary affairs and the resignation of MQM-P's Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui as minister for information technology and telecommunication  accepted, the premier said on Twitter.

Mohammad Shahzad Arbab was removed from the post of adviser, as was Hashim Popalzai from secretary food. Omar Hameed was given Popalzai's former post.