Wednesday January 19, 2022

Following meeting with PM: Hafeez Shaikh gets revenue ministry back

December 15, 2020

ISLAMABAD: As an afterthought, the government on Monday revised its notification and granted portfolio of Revenues to Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh.

Earlier, the notification issued by the Cabinet Division on December 11, 2020 had stated that the government has allocated only the portfolio of Minister for Finance for Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh. The change of heart, according to top official sources, confirmed to The News on Monday follows Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh’s meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan after the first notification and requested him to let the revenue slot retain with him along with finance. The premier had assured him that it would be done within the next couple of days.

However, official sources from PM Secretariat confirmed that there was no error or mistake in line drafting the first notification as it was issued with the direction issued from the competent authority. The earlier notification had clearly stated that in exercise of power conferred by clause (1) of Article 92, read with Article 91 (9) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the President, on the advice of the prime minister, has been pleased to appoint Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh as Federal Minister. He will hold the portfolio of finance as allocated by the prime minister in terms of Rule 3 (4) of the Rules of Business 1973. Consequently, Dr Shaikh shall cease to hold the office of Adviser to PM on Finance and Revenues.

Now the Cabinet Division on Monday dated December 14, 2020 issued a new notification which returns the revenue portfolio back to Dr Shaikh. The revised notification stated that the PM has been pleased to allocate the portfolio of Revenues to Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Federal Minister for Finance, with immediate effect. Consequently, Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh will now be Federal Minister for Finance and Revenues.

The sources said that in the aftermath of Islamabad High Court’s verdict, the government administered a new oath to appoint him as the Federal Minister for Finance. Now it also seems that he might be granted the ticket of Upper House of Parliament for electing him as senator in upcoming elections going to be held in March 2020.

There is background to this whole episode as the PTI led government had initially appointed Hammad Azhar as Minister of State for Revenues but his portfolio was changed immediately. The government had also placed the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, earlier with Dr Shaikh, under jurisdiction of Ministry of Planning, besides appointing a separate federal minister for Economic Affairs Division.

Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh had resisted the appointment of Special Assistant to PM on Revenues when Haroon Akhtar Khan was considered for this slot and the government dropped his name. Now the PM Imran Khan appointed Dr Waqar Masood as SAPM. When the slot of revenues was withdrawn, this time again, Dr Shaikh took it as big blow to his powers. He approached the premier and got the revenue slot restored.