Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed Abdul Hafeez Shaikh to carry on his duties as Minister for Finance despite his defeat to Opposition candidate Yousuf Raza Gilani for the Islamabad general seat in Senate.
Sources informed Geo News that the prime minister, in a meeting with the finance minister, expressed full confidence in his abilities and asked that he continue his work.
PM Imran Khan said he recognises the efforts Shaikh has made to boost Pakistan’s economy, said the sources.
They added that following Shaikh’s meeting with the premier, he decided not to hand in his resignation.
In 2019, amid a cabinet reshuffle, Shaikh had been appointed Advisor on Finance after Minister for Finance Asad Umar tendered in his resignation.
In December last year, the Islamabad High Court ruled that special assistants and advisors have no authority to chair or sit in on meetings of cabinet committees.
The judgment noted that Article 93 of the Constitution allows the prime minister to appoint up to five advisors, but the conferring of a federal minister status on an advisor is “only for the purpose of perks and privileges” and “does not make the advisor a federal minister as such”.
It further ruled an advisor “can address the Parliament but cannot participate in the voting process”.
The prime minister is empowered to appoint an unelected individual as a minister for six months under Article 91(9) of the Constitution.
However, the Constitution states that at the end of six months, that 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 government was looking to the outcome of the Senate polls to resolve this conundrum but Shaikh lost to Gilani.
More to follow.