News Desk |
Sheikh Rashid, Federal Minister for Railways, said in a press conference in Lahore that he will visit Asad Umar soon and will try to convince him to come back into Imran Khan’s cabinet. He said portfolios do not matter but some one like Asad Umar has to be in the cabinet next to the Prime Minister, Imran Khan.
Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, was speaking at a press conference in Lahore, in the early mooring of April 20. Responding to questions, he said that it was the prime minister’s prerogative to decide who would take what portfolio. “A captain decides where he should place the fielders,” he said.
Earlier, the ex-petroleum minister, Ghulam Sarwar Khan, taking part in a tv discussion also argued that Asad Umar should not have left cabinet; he should have accepted some other portfolio. Sarwar Khan was explaining that he is willing to take any portfolio or position given to him by PM Imran Khan.
Why PTI may force Asad Umar back into cabinet?
Asad Umar’s resignation has been a bomb shell for PTI workers and supporters. Most close to the Ministry of Finance believe that PM Imran was under intense pressure from some quarters to remove him. And the replacement by Dr. Hafeez Sheikh, someone considered close to international monetary institutions and Washington, has further consolidated this view.
Also, Asad was apparently forced out in rush, because when Prime Minister met him in Wednesday evening there was no sign of this development. Earlier when rumors were circulating, and news reporters asked him he had made fun of these news. So the sudden demand from the PM Khan, that Asad should accept change of portfolio, in Thursday morning, must have come as a rude shock to him and thus forced him to resign.
But now since the feeling that he was treated badly and unjustly runs deep in the party it is possible that other cabinet members close the PM will approach Asad on behalf of the PM and will convince Asad to accept some other responsibilities inside the cabinet. Sources close to the PM admit to GVS that PM Imran had always considered Asad Umar as his undeclared Deputy Prime Minister and relied upon his judgment and world view. And Asad’s sudden departure has left PM Imran Khan without a trusted lieutenant on his side. “Imran is left alone at the top” a PTI source argues.
On the question of non-elected members gaining strength in the current federal cabinet and the elected Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders allegedly being ignored, Sheikh Rashid said that a lot of people who started their politics for the first time by joining the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and had also been made members of the cabinet.
Analysts believe that Imran Khan would most likely want to have a trusted expert on political economy back in his cabinet.
Putting Rumours to Rest: PTI Govt to Complete Term
On former Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) members being given portfolios in the current cabinet and rumors about any threat to the government of Imran Khan, Sheikh Rashid said that he was confident that the current government would complete its term in office. “Put this on record,” the federal railways minister said.
In Defense of Asad Umar
He said that he was “triple S leader, short, smart and sweet,” adding that given how badly the previous governments plundered the national exchequer what could any finance minister had done.
Sheikh Rashid said that from day one in the government he used to say there was no option other than going to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Imran Khan “Dead honest man”
Regarding newly-appointed advisor to prime minister on petroleum Nadeem Babar and alleged corruption charges against him, Sheikh Rashid said anyone who would have NAB cases against him or her, the prime minister would not tolerate him.
Sheikh Rashid downplayed allegations against Khusro Bakhtiyar and said that he himself could answer any allegations levelled against him. He also said that he saw no future for the Sharif and Bhutto families in national politics. Sheikh Rashid said Imran Khan was a “dead honest man”.
Asad Umar ever since he joined the PTI has been Prime Minister Imran Khan’s right hand man. The PM has relied heavily on Asad Umar for his expertise in political and economic spheres. Analysts believe that Imran Khan would most likely want to have a trusted expert on political economy back in his cabinet.
Sources are of the view that in the coming days and weeks several other leaders of the PTI will be visiting former finance minister Asad Umar and will try to persuade him to return to the cabinet. How much time its going to take is not clear. Asad has left for Karachi on Friday, he is expected to stay there for several days before returning back to his flat in Islamabad where he lived all these years before moving into the Minister’s Enclave. Sources also believe that whenever a cabinet member returns back its usually over a period of several months. So even if Asad Umar decides to return it will not happen immediately – it may take several months.