Federal cabinet: The twists and turns


ISLAMABAD – The decision by the Central Executive Committee of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) to dissolve the federal cabinet has been taken two years and ten months after it was sworn in by former president General (r) Pervez Musharraf on April 1, 2008 following the general elections on February 8.
Initially 24 ministers had taken oath, including nine from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
May 12, 2008: The cabinet suffers the first jolt when only after 42 days serving in the cabinet the PML-N’s ministers resign over the government’s refusal to restore the deposed judges.
Nov 4, 2008: Some 40 ministers take oath, including 22 federal and 18 state ministers; the cabinet’s strength soars to 55. The MQM cannot become part of the cabinet as their demands regarding the share and portfolios were not met and at the eleventh hour they decided to stay away from the whole exercise.
Jan 27, 2009: With the induction of four new ministers, two each from the Jamiat Ulama-e-Islam (JUI-F) and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), the strength of the federal cabinet swelled to 61, making it the second largest in the country’s history. Those included Dr Farooq Sattar and Babar Khan Ghauri of MQM, and Maulana Attaur Rehman and Muhammad Azam Khan Swati of the JUI-F.
Feb 1, 2009: Khawaja Muhammad Khan Hoti resigns in protest against the direct intervention of Premier Gilani into affairs of his ministry – the Ministry of Narcotics.
March 10, 2009: Mian Raza Rabbani opts to resign.
March 14, 2009: Information Minister Sherry Rehman quits the cabinet against the crackdown on media.
Feb 23, 2010: Finance Minister Shaukat Tareen gives up his job.
June 6, 2010: President Asif Ali Zardari appoints Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh as Tareen’s replacement, Sardar Aseff Ahmad Ali as Education minister and Arbab Muhammad Zahir that of Narcotics Control.
September 26, 2010: Minister for Defence Production, Abdul Qayyum Jatoi tenders his resignation in a meeting with Prime Minister Gilani who had summoned Jatoi over his statement against the Chief Justice of Pakistan and the armed forces.
November 30, 2010: Haji Khuda Bux Rajar of Pakistan Muslim League-Functional is inducted as the federal minister and Istiqbal Khan of Awami National Party as the minister of state.
December 15, 2010: Gilani sacks two ministers – Hamid Saeed Kazmi and Azam Khan Swati who were on a warring path over Haj scam. It triggers a new row as the JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman announces to part ways with the PPP-led coalition government at the centre following the sacking of Swati, Minister for Science and Technology.
December 27, 1010: Only 12 days later, the MQM follows the JUI-F and its two cabinet members – Minister for Overseas Pakistanis Farooq Sattar and that of Ports & Shipping Babar Ghauri resign.
January 3, 2011: The MQM announces to quit the government against the raise in petroleum prices. The move turns the PPP-led coalition government into a minority. However, the fragile federal government gets a lifeline the MQM decides to return to the coalition’s folds after its demands, like the reversing the hike in petroleum prices, are met. But the MQM leaders, who held crunch talks Gilani, said the party would not join the federal cabinet.