No changes in federal cabinet, says interior minister


LAHORE: Federal Minister for Interior Ijaz Ahmed Shah on Wednesday denied reports of any changes in the federal cabinet, saying the prime minister has confidence in his ministers.

He said this during an exclusive interview with Pakistan Today Editor Arif Nizami on Channel 92’s programme ‘Ho Kya Raha Hai?’

The interior minister said that the prime minister has confidence in his abilities and he cannot be replaced as long as the premier trusts him. “Even if he wants to replace his ministers, it is his prerogative,” he said.

It is worth mentioning here that a few days ago, reports claimed that the prime minister is preparing to reshuffle the federal cabinet and would grant the Interior Ministry to either Pervez Khattak or Shafqat Mehmood.

Talking about the upcoming ‘Azadi March’ of opposition parties led by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, he said that the government would provide the JUI-F chief with a container if he really wants to protest. “However, this is not the right time to protest considering the regional situation and the Kashmir crisis,” he said.

Speaking about opposition’s criticism of the government over rising inflation in the country, he said that the incumbent government should not be blamed for the dollar hike and subsequent increase in inflation. “We are bearing the consequences of the policies of the previous governments,” he said.

“The economic situation is become stable and we will get out of this crisis eventually,” he added.

While talking about the 18th Amendment, he said that government is not against it but it can be refined as a lot of powers given to the provinces have weakened the federation. “Law and order is the responsibility of the provinces but the federal government too has a responsibility to thwart internal and external threats,” he said.

Responding to opposition’s claim of government conducting a witch-hunt of the opposition leaders, he said that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is not working under the control of the federal government. “Even government ministers are being probed by NAB,” he said.

Talking about the rumours of a deal between government and under-investigation opposition leaders, he said that the law allows those under-investigations to avail plea bargain. However, the premier would not grant them any deal under another ordinance like the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), he added.

Speaking about the plea bargain availed by seven suspects, including Abdul Ghani Majeed, in the fake accounts case, he said that Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Asif Ali Zardari was a beneficiary of that.