ISLAMABAD: The Imran Khan-led government has surpassed all the previous governments in removing or sacking its own cabinet members.
With the removal of Barrister Shahzad Akbar as Adviser to Prime Minister, the number of PTI government's ministers, advisers and special assistants to prime ministers (SAPMs) who resigned or were dismissed has reached the mark of almost two dozen — a record for any government.
The latest removal of Barrister Shahzad Akbar, who was considered one of the most powerful men in Khan’s cabinet, has shocked many. The three and a half years tenure of Prime Minister Imran Khan has not only broken the record of appointing the highest number of federal cabinet members but it has also surpassed the previous governments in sacking ministers, advisers and Special Assistants to Prime Minister (SAPM) as well.
From the most trusted and party stalwarts like Asad Umar and Aamir Kiyani to new entrants into the party like Hafeez Sheikh and Dr. Waqar Masood, almost two dozen members of cabinet have been removed from their posts in the last three and half years.
The list of those who have been removed from their posts include, Asad Umar, Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Dr. Waqar Masood Khan, Sayed Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari, Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan, Brigadier (retd.) Ijaz Shah, Dr. Ishrat Hussain, Barrister Shahzad Akbar, Nadeem Afzal Chan, Lt. Gen Asim Salim Bajwa, Tabish Gohar, Faisal Vawda, Aamir Mehmood Kiyani, Nadeem Babar, Dr. Zafar Mirza, Tania Aidrus, Yousaf Baig Mirza, Shahzad Syed Qasim, Shahzad Arbab, Ghulam Sarwar Khan and others
In August 2018, after the PTI came into power, Imran Khan’s financial wizard Asad Umar was the first choice for the post of Finance Minister. However, within nine months, Asad Umar had to step down as a Finance Minister on April 18, 2019. He was later appointed Federal Minister for Planning Development and Special Initiatives.
Abdul Hafeez Sheikh
Abdul Hafeez Sheikh took over the charge of Finance Minister after Asad Umar’s resignation but after almost two years, Prime Minister Imran Khan removed him from the key ministry in March 2021.
Dr. Waqar Masood Khan
Former Secretary Finance Dr. Waqar Masood Khan was appointed Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue but he resigned from his post on August 24, 2021.
Sayed Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari
Prime Minister Imran Khan appointed his close aide Syed Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari as SAPM on Overseas Pakistanis & Human Resource Development but he resigned from his post on May 17, 2021.
Aamir Mehmood Kiyani
Aamir Mehmood Kiyani was among those PTI stalwarts who were first of Prime Minister Imran Khan for his cabinet. However, he had to resign facing the allegations of corruption in the medicines price-hike scandal.
Tabish Gohar Energy Technocrat
Khan appointed him as SAPM on Power and Petroleum but he resigned on September 21, 2021.
A prominent economist Atif Mian was nominated by Imran Khan’s government as a member of the Economic Advisory Council but withdrew his name after pressure from certain quarters.
Dr. Ishrat Hussain
He was assigned an important task of bringing institutional reforms within the government and Khan appointed him as his Advisor. Dr. Ishrat resigned from his post on July 30, 2021.
Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan
After losing the general elections 2018, Khan appointed her as SAPM on Information and Broadcasting in April 2019. However, later she was removed and sent to Punjab to take the charge of Advisor to CM Punjab.
Brigadier (retd) Ijaz Shah
He was appointed Interior Minister in Khan’s Cabinet in April 2019 and in December 2020 he was removed from the post.
Nadeem Babar was appointed as SAPM on Petroleum but Khan later removed him from his post in March 2021.
Nadeem Afzal Chan
After losing the general elections 2018, Prime Minister Imran Khan appointed him his Special Assistant but he resigned from his post in January 2021.
Lt. General (retired) Asim Saleem Bajwa
General (retd) Asim Bajwa was appointed Advisor to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting but later he resigned from the post in October 2020.
Apart from the above ministers, advisors and SAPMs, there are many members of Khan’s cabinet who were either removed or they resigned themselves which include, Shahzad Arbab SAPM on Establishment, MQM's Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui Information Technology Minister, Yousaf Baig Mirza SAPM on Media Affairs, Shahzad Syed Qasim SAPM on Power Division, Tania Aidrus SAPM on on Digital Pakistan, Dr. Zafar Mirza SAPM on Health and Tahir A Khan SAPM on Media Affairs.
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