PPP core committee to decide on cabinet dissolution today

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ISLAMABAD – In its core committee meeting today (Tuesday), the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) will take a final decision on whether the cabinet should be dissolved or not. President Asif Ali Zardari, co-chairman of the party, is being advised not to go ahead with the plan at a time when the government is already facing problems and its intention to right-size the cabinet has already got on the nerves of the incumbents for possibly losing ministerial slots in the exercise.
“The core committee will review the overall situation and also decide whether the cabinet should be dissolved or not,” a source close to the president told Pakistan Today. The source said Law Minister Babar Awan’s disclosure of the decision to right-size the cabinet had caused commotion and unrest among the ministers. “It is possible that the core committee decides not to dissolve the cabinet at this time,” he added.
However, another source said it would be difficult for the government to backtrack as it would create a negative perception that despite serious economic crisis it was not ready to reduce its size. “The decision to dissolve the cabinet can be put off for the time being on a plea that 17 ministries are already in the process of being devolved to the provinces and this process will complete by June 30,” the source said, adding that these ministries were being transferred to the provinces under the devolution plan as provided in 18th amendment.
Under the 18th amendment, the maximum size of the federal cabinet has also been fixed at 11 percent of the total strength of parliament which is 442 – with 100 members in the Senate and 342 in the National Assembly- but it will be applicable after the next general election. “With the devolution plan already in process, the size of the cabinet will automatically reduce,” the source said.
However, he said the final decision whether to go ahead with the plan or delay the dissolution of the cabinet for its right-sizing would be taken at the core committee meeting.