In a major reshuffle in the federal cabinet, Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed has been appointed as interior minister, confirmed state television on Friday. According to details, Azam Khan Swati has been made federal minister for Railways while Ijaz Shah will serve as federal minister for Narcotics Control from now.
TABDEELI in the cabinet again: Sheikh Rasheed is the New Interior Minister, Azam Swati is the New Minister for Railways and Ijaz Shah is New Minister Anti-Narcotics.
— Shiffa Z. Yousafzai (@Shiffa_ZY) December 11, 2020
Prior to the appointment of Mr. Shah, the ministry was working under the Prime Minister himself who was looking into all sensitive matters personally. But political instability and downgrading economy demanded the premier to appoint a full-time interior minister.
Rahseed is known for his politically bold statements and is considered as one of the most experienced ministers in the current cabinet.
Sheikh Rasheed appointed Pakistan's Interior Minister. Last year he boasted "Pakistan has smart bombs," "we have 125-250 g bombs". He had also said last year “I can foresee a war between Pakistan and India in November or December” after India abrogated Article 370.
— Smita Prakash (@smitaprakash) December 11, 2020
Who else wanted to the interior minister?
Brigadier (r) Ijaz Ahmed Shah assumed office on April 19, 2019. Shah – who was elected as a member of the National Assembly from the constituency of NA-118, Nankana Sahib-II – was a close aide of then-president General retired Pervez Musharraf. He had also served as director-general (DG) of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) from 2004 to 2008.
However, right after winning the general elections 2018, the slot of interior minister became contested after two leaders shown their desires to head the same ministry. According to well-placed sources, Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed wanted to be the interior minister. He expressed his displeasure during a media talk in 2018, at his consigned ministry in the newly-elected cabinet saying he wanted the portfolio of the interior ministry to eradicate crime.
Moreover, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak was not happy with the appointment of ex-intelligence Bureau Director-General Ijaz Shah as Interior Minister and he had shared his views and reservations with a senior party leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi, the vice-chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI).
Pakistan PM's Office announces cabinet reshuffle: Sheikh Rashid Ahmad made Interior Minister, Azam Swati Railways Minister and Ijaz Shah losing Interior but stays Narcotics Control Minister. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh has been upgraded from Advisor on Finance to Finance Minister.
— Asad Hashim (@AsadHashim) December 11, 2020
Sources told that Shah met with Prime Minister at Banigala before the formal approval of Mr. Shah’s appointment, and discussed with him the latest political situation as well as the party matters.
Sources further told that Pervez Khattak was also present in that meeting and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood fully supported the viewpoint of Pervez Khattak and said that Pervez Khattak could be a better choice as Interior Minister but Imran Khan defended his decision and said that Pervez Khattak was the in-charge of Defence ministry that was more important than Interior Ministry in current scenario.
Sources further told that Pervez Khattak reminded Imran Khan that he had promised with him that he will appoint him as Interior Minister if he will make changes in the cabinet but, sources told, that the same Imran Khan did not respond to him on this and asked him to continue as Defence Minister.
Khattak also reportedly opposed Sheikh Rasheed’s appointment but the premier did not agree with him.