ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan is likely to appoint his adviser on finance, Dr Hafeez Shaikh as the federal minister for finance as the latter is set to announce the annual budget for fiscal year 2019-20 on Tuesday.
If Shaikh is appointed as a federal minister before the budget speech, the government would have to get him elected as a member of the National Assembly or a senator within six months to fulfill legal requirements.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) faced a similar situation in its tenure when it appointed Miftah Ismail as the federal finance minister for presenting the budget in the National Assembly.
The move had drawn criticism from the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), which criticised the PML-N “for setting a bad example by allowing a non-elected person to present the budget”.
“The only way out of this situation for the government is to appoint the adviser as federal minister through a presidential order under Article 91/92 of the Constitution,” informed sources said.
“With the cabinet’s approval, the president can appoint the finance minister for six months, subject to the election of the minister. The government can also make him a senator during the same period. Another option to resolve the issue could also be the appointment of a state minister of finance,” they added.
It is pertinent to mention that the previous government had also used Article 92(1) read with 91(9) of the Constitution to promote an adviser to the level of a minister. Under the article, a minister, who, for any period of six consecutive months, is not a member of the National Assembly, shall, at the expiration of that period, 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.
Hafeez Shaikh, being an adviser, was also unable to head the meeting of the National Finance Commission (NFC).