PM Abbasi makes half century of cabinet members

Within the first fortnight of his tenure, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi scored half a century of cabinet members, including federal ministers, ministers of state and advisers. With the latest appointment of six advisers to the prime minister, the strength of cabinet members has reached 53.

After taking the oath of office on August 1, Abbasi initially inducted a 43-member cabinet which included 27 federal ministers and 16 ministers of state. A few days later, four new ministers took oath at the President House, bringing the number of members of the federal cabinet to 47. The new inductees include two federal ministers and two ministers of state.

Last weekend, the prime minister further expanded his cabinet by appointing six advisers, including Lieutenant General (retd) Nasser Janjua as National Security Adviser, Sartaj Aziz as deputy chairman of the Planning Commission, Sardar Mehtab Abbasi, Jam Mashooq Ali, Amir Muqam and Irfan Siddiqui as advisers.

All these advisers, who had also served former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in the same capacity, have been given the status of federal ministers.

Now, Abbasi is expected to appoint a few special assistants — almost all of those who were serving Nawaz till his ouster. These include Khawaja Zaheer, Zafarullah Khan, Dr Asif Kirmani and Haroon Akhtar, among others. During Nawaz’s tenure, the maximum strength of special assistants was nine. These special assistants were enjoying the status of ministers of state.

In the last prime minister’s tenure, the cabinet members’ strength which was 25 (including advisers and special assistants) in 2013 had later increased to 43 including 21 federal ministers, nine ministers of state, four advisers and nine special assistants to the prime minister.

Soon after coming into power, Nawaz had massively reduced the size of the federal secretariat including that of the Prime Minister’s Secretariat as a move to reduce public spending and ensure good governance. However, he later started adding up cabinet members, which resulted in the creation of more ministries and divisions. The incumbent prime minister too had to create new ministries to adjust his bloated cabinet.


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