Cabinet Reshuffle, belated though, ripped apart opposition onslaught
Many would differ, for difference of opinion is essence of morality, and best-known service to the cause of democracy. Imran Khan, exercising his constitutional authority, reshuffled the cabinet, and although it was rather belated decision, yet it took the wind out of opposition sails. At least two of the cabinet minister, Asad Umar and Fawad Chaudhry, were on the hit list since well over ten days, Straws in the wind were a clear pointer to that. And though denied officially, and even Pemra had put a black spot against some TV channels, for hinting at that, but those in the know of things persevered in their efforts sometimes meekly or cautiously, and sometimes rather boldly, caring little about what the official viewpoint was. Those seeing media with coloured glasses are perhaps naïve in nature, or deliberately try to belittle its importance, for journalist world over are categorized as the “most informed” segment of the society. They are ears and eyes of a nation and the country. That is why they are respected and blessed with dignity and honour. Whether assessments presented by Asad Umar to his leader Imran Khan during electioneering, or even after taking over reigns in 2018, are mere fantasies, or partly or wholly true, is not a journalists job to be judge. It could well be right, and may as well be insinuations, or half-baked stories, spread with mischievous purposes, but the fact remains that Asad Umar, even with all the knowledge and expertise at his command remained seemed to lack conviction in the assignment, given to him to place the financial equilibrium incorrect perspective. He had conveyed to Imran that petrol prices could be reduced to Rs 40 a litre, if only excise and other taxes are remodeled and that debt burden could be handled efficiently without IMG help. It dawned on him on taking over the charge of the finance ministry, that things were completely upside down. The result was obvious. Inflation soared sky high, State Bank, in a bid to squeeze monetary expansion, raised the markup rate from 5.6 percent to nearly 11 percent. Rupee dipped to abysmally low levels, causing price hike, and unimaginable inflationary pressures. Imran, in the hope of his team correcting itself, and rehabilitating the economy waited, and waited, and finally after 8 long months opted for finding a technocrat as the new finance minister, Hafeez Sheikh is known for his ability to handle delicate matters and has perhaps been taken in with some conditions of non-interference. Even Dr. Ishrat Hussain, Salman Shah, Shamshad Akhtar, whose name were under consideration could equally have been beneficial for the sensitive position. In the rule book for journalism, and information ministers, it is precondition that an information minister should not be seen, he should be felt. His work ought to promote the government, president, and prime minister. Unfortunately, this principle clause was wittingly or unwittingly ignored by all and sundry, holding information minister’s position. Imran’s decision to appoint full-fledged interior minister, and have a reliable person for civil aviation affairs should help FATA and northern areas get better attention and PIA which has already readied a five-year development plan with new routes, and fresh fleet of aircraft should benefit immensely from a full-time minister. However minister for production to look after Steel Mil, Machine tool factory, Heavy electrical complex, Taxila and in its equal project in Karachi, needed much greater attention, because all these are essential projects to provide tools and equipment for industry and defence. Prime Minister may pay to review the entire gambit of governance. Opposition released mixed reaction, Bilawal Bhutto was most balanced in his opinion. So was too great extent Shahbaz Sharif, They did attack prime minister’s personality, holding him responsible for much of the problems faced by the country, but simultaneously, they offered worth suggestions, Bilawal especially, which augurs well for the country.