Pakistan scales down cabinet in cost cutting move

  • IANS, Islamabad
  • |
  • Updated: Feb 09, 2011 19:11 IST

Members of Pakistan's federal cabinet on Wednesday tendered their resignations to Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani in a bid to downsize it.

The cabinet members tendered their resignations to Gilani to enable him announce a new council of ministers, the Associated Press of Pakistan reported.

The Pakistan federal government has 54 ministers, including 17 ministers of state. There are 442 MPs. The resignations came at the last meeting of the cabinet held at the Prime Minister's Secretariat in Islamabad.

"Today's meeting is going to be the last meeting of the present cabinet," Geo News quoted Gilani as telling his cabinet colleagues. Gilani expressed gratitude to his cabinet colleagues for their assistance and for improving governance.

The prime minister said a new cabinet would be formed within 24 hours, the daily Dawn reported.

Federal Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan, last month said President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani had decided on rightsizing the cabinet.

He said the decision to reduce the number of ministers in the new cabinet was taken with a view to cut down government expenditure.

A media report earlier said some ministers in the federal cabinet were being removed as part of rightsizing, apparently to meet a demand of the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML N) to reduce expenditure.

PML N chief Nawaz Sharif had given a 10 point charter of demands to the government on January 4 this year and sought it to be met within 45 days.

Nawaz had made it clear that if the demands were not met, the PML N would be left with no option but to call for fresh elections.

Two ministers -- Hamid Saeed Kazmi and Azam Khan Swati -- have already been sacked. Swati had claimed that Kazmi was involved in corruption in Haj operations. The Prime Minister removed both of them, saying they had violated discipline.



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