The Pakistani capital was today abuzz with reports that Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani would dissolve the federal cabinet in the next few days though there was no official word on such a possibility.
The Pakistan People's Party-led government was reported to be weighing two options – whether to dissolve the entire cabinet or to reduce its size to half in line with a landmark constitutional reforms package passed by parliament last year.
Reports also said that several key ministers could be dropped during the exercise.
President Asif Ali Zardari and Gilani are expected to chair a crucial meeting of the PPP's central executive committee later in the day to decide the matter, TV news channels reported.
Geo News channel reported that Gilani might dissolve the cabinet and announce the names of 10 to 12 ministers.
The existing cabinet comprises 62 members.
Under the 18th constitutional amendment, the size of the cabinet should not be more than 11 per cent of the total strength of parliament.
The reported move to downsize the cabinet is also aimed at improving the image of the PPP, which has been battered by charges of corruption and inefficiency.
Amidst speculation about changes in the cabinet, the powerful "troika" of President Zardari, Prime Minister Gilani and army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani met at the presidency yesterday, The News daily quoted its sources as saying.
Though the meeting was held ostensibly to discuss the security situation in the country, "that was not necessarily the agenda topper item", the report said.
There was no official word on the meeting.
The top civil and military leadership also discussed Pakistan's crippling financial situation.
Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Sheikh and Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar too attended the meeting.
Sheikh briefed the meeting on the proposed Reformed General Sales Tax regime and other conditions set by the International Monetary Fund as well as the consequences of not implementing these conditions, the report said.
The daily reported that the meeting also took up the sensitive issue of the killing of three Pakistani citizens in an incident in Lahore involving US consulate employee Raymond Davis.