On Friday, President Dr. Arif Alvi administered the oath of Federal Minister to Abdul Hafeez Sheikh during a ceremony at the President House in Islamabad.
Abdul Hafeez previously held the position of an Advisor to the Prime Minister on Finance, now he has been sworn in as the Minister of Finance. This development came soon after Islamabad High Court (IHC) allowed the inclusion of advisors and special assistants to cabinet committees.
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Just last week IHC ruled that advisors and special assistants to the PM cannot head government committees and had prohibited Advisor to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Abdul Hafeez Sheikh from heading the Cabinet Committee on Privatisation (CCoP).
Lawmaker Rana Iradat Sharif Khan submitted a petition to IHC, which challenged the appointment of Abdul Hafeez as chairman and Abdul Razak Dawood and Adviser to the PM on Institutional reforms and austerity Dr. Ishrat Hussain as members of the CCoP.
He pleaded that the court declares the notification null, void, and set aside the same time.
A division of the IHC, which consisted of Aamer Farooq and Ghulam Azam Qambrani on Tuesday issued a detailed judgment on the appointment of the advisors and the special assistants to the Prime Minister.
The judgment authored by Justice Aamer Farooq stated, “Conferring the status of the federal minister on the advisor to the prime minister is only for the purposes of perks and privileges and does not make the advisor a federal minister as such.”
However, the court stated that “undoubtedly, on special requests, persons can be called in by the committee but no person can be the chairman or a member of the committee of the cabinet, who is not a member of the cabinet.”
Sources reveal that Prime Minister Imran Khan is likely to appoint Advisor to PM on Commerce and Investment Abdul Razzak Dawood and Special Assistant to PM on National Health Services Dr. Faisal Sultan as federal ministers for six months as well.
Article 91(9) of the Constitution grants power to the Prime Minister to appoint an unelected individual as a minister for six months.
However, at the end of six months, the individual will “cease to be a minister and shall not before the dissolution of that Assembly be again appointed a Minister unless he is elected a member of that Assembly,” the constitution reads.