One criticism often directed at the government is that the cabinet has grown so large under the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) that it is no longer an efficient decision-making body.
Does the cabinet need to be slimmed down? Is it doing too much at the centre that could otherwise be devolved to the provincial and local level? Geo.tv speaks to Aasiya Riaz, joint director at PILDAT, about how top-heavy the government really is.
Article 90 of the Constitution determines that the executive authority of the federation is to be exercised by the federal government, consisting of the prime minister and the federal ministers. While, Article 91 (6) stipulates that the cabinet, together with the ministers of state, "shall be collectively responsible to the senate and the national assembly."
The Federal Government:
Subject to the Constitution, the executive authority of the Federation shall be exercised in the name of the President by the Federal Government, consisting of the Prime Minister and the Federal Ministers, which shall act through the Prime Minister, who shall be the chief executive of the Federation.
In the performance of his functions under the Constitution, the Prime Minister may act either directly or through the Federal Ministers."
The 'executive authority of the federation' or the federal government, extends to those matters on which the parliament has the power to legislate, or in other words, the federal list (as revised under 18th amendment to the constitution) as well as matters, including exercise of rights, authority and jurisdiction in and in relation to areas outside Pakistan.
Currently, there are 33 ministries in the center, overseeing 42 federal divisions, as of July 19, 2019. As for the cabinet in the center, it consists of 24 federal ministers and four ministers of state or junior ministers. In addition, the prime minister has appointed five advisors and 15 special assistants.
Ministers of state
|Advisers to the PM||5|
|Special assistants of the PM|
As of now, there is no federal ministry without a full-time minister.
However, the cabinet secretariat, as a federal ministry, has five divisions, namely:
a. Aviation Division
b. Cabinet Division
c. Establishment Division
d. National Security Division
e. Poverty Alleviation & Social Safety Division
It is only the National Security Division which is working without a minister in-charge at the moment. Ghulam Sarwar Khan is federal minister for the aviation division, the prime minister is the minister in-charge of the cabinet division, Mohammad Shehzad Arbab is serving as advisor to prime minister on establishment and Dr. Sania Nishtar, as the special assistant to the prime minister, is in-charge of the poverty alleviation & social safety division.
According to the Constitution, the federal cabinet can only consist of members of the national assembly and the senate.
Under the 18th amendment to the constitution, Article 92 (1) has set a limit on the size of federal cabinet. Since the election in 2013, it is now constitutionally mandated that the total strength of the cabinet, including ministers and ministers of state, shall not exceed 11 per cent of the total membership of Majlis-e-Shoora (parliament). This translates to the federal cabinet (including federal ministers and ministers of state) strength to not exceed 49 members.
At the moment, while the total number of ministries stands at 33, the total strength of federal cabinet, including federal ministers and ministers of state, is 28 (Murad Saeed, MNA, and Shehryar Afridi, MNA, have dual charge of two ministries each).
Out of these 28 Ministers, 24 are MNAs and two are Senators.
Article 93 of the Constitution also allows that prime minister can appoint advisers whose number should not exceed five. Therefore, at the moment, there are five advisers to the prime minister.
Since Pakistan functions as a parliamentary democracy, the intent of the constitution is to allow the prime minister to appoint advisers from outside parliament who can provide the necessary skill and expertise on a sphere of government, where such expertise may not be available within the parliament.
Please also note that Article 57 of the constitution grants the prime minister, a federal minister, a minister of state, the attorney general and advisers to the prime minister the “right to speak and otherwise take part in the proceedings of either house, or a joint sitting or any committee” of the parliament.
This constitutional right does not apply to special assistants to prime minister. The constitution is also silent on the number of special assistants a prime minister can appoint.
Please note that while advisers to the prime minister and special assistants to the prime minister are included in the list, these do not count towards the overall number of constitutionally-mandated size of the federal cabinet).
|Ministry||Federal Minister||State Minister||Advisor||Special Assistant||Federal Division|
|Cabinet Secretariat||Prime Minister In-charge of Cabinet Division Ghulam Sarwar Khan, MNA Aviation Division||Mohammad Shehzad Arbab, Advisor to Prime Minister on Establishment Status as Federal Minister||Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Status of Federal Minister||a. Aviation Division b. Cabinet Division c. Establishment Division d. National Security Division e. Poverty Alleviation & Social Safety Division|
|Climate Change||Zartaj Gul, MNA||Malik Amin Aslam Khan, Advisor to Prime Minister on Climate Change Status as Federal Minister||Climate Change Division|
|Commerce & Textile||Abdul Razak Dawood, advisor to Prime Minister on Commerce, Textile, Industry & Production and Investment Status as Federal Minister||a. Commerce Division b. Textile Division|
|Communications||Murad Saeed, MNA||Communication Division|
|Defence||Pervez Khattak, MNA||Defence Division|
|Defence Production||Ms. Zubaida Jalal, MNA||Defence Production Division|
|Energy||Omar Ayub Khan, MNA||Nadeem Babar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Petroleum Division with the status of Minister of State||a. Power Division b. Petroleum Division|
|Education, Professional Training, National History & Literary Heritage||Shafqat Mahmood, MNA||a. Federal Education and Professional Training Division b. National History & Literary Heritage Division|
|Finance, Revenue, Economic Affairs||Muhammad Hammad Azhar, MNA Federal Minister for Economic Affairs||Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Status of Federal Minister||a. Finance Division b. Economic Affairs Division Revenue Division|
|Foreign Affairs||Makhdoom Shah Mahmood||Foreign Affairs Division|
|Housing and Works||Chaudhary Tariq Bashir Cheema, MNA||Muhammad Shabbir Ali, MNA||Housing and Works Division|
|Human Rights||Dr. Shireen M. Mazari, MNA||Human rights Divison|
|Industries and Production||Mr. Abdul Razak Dawood Advisor to Prime Minister on Commerce, Textile, Industry & Production and Investment Status as Federal Minister||Industries and Production Division|
|Information and Broadcasting||1. Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information & Broadcasting Division with the status of Minister of State 2. Mr. lftikhar Durrani, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Media with the status of Minister of State 3. Mr. Yousaf Baig Mirza, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Media Affairs||Information and Broadcasting Division|
|Information Technology and Telecommunication||Dr. Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, MNA||Information Technology and Telecommunication Division|
|Interior||ljaz Ahmad Shah, MNA||Interior Division|
|Inter-Provincial Coordination||Dr. Fehmida Mirza, MNA||Inter-Provincial Coordination Division|
|Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan||Ali Amin Khan Gandapur, MNA||Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan|
|Law and Justice||Senator Dr. Muhammad Farogh Naseem||Law and Justice Division|
|Maritime Affairs||Syed Ali Haider Zaidi, MNA||Maritime Affairs Division|
|Narcotics Control||Mr. Shehryar Afridi, MNA||Narcotics Control Division|
|National Food Security and Research||Sahibzada Muhammad Mehboob Sultan, MNA||National Food Security and Research Division|
|National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination||Dr. Zafar Mirza, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Status of Minister of State||National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Division|
|Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development||Sayed Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development Status of Minister of State||Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development Division|
|Parliamentary Affairs||Senator Muhammad Azam Khan Swati||Ali Muhammad Khan, MNA||Nadeem Afzal Gondal, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Parliamentary Coordination||Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs|
|Planning, Development & Reform||Makhdoom Khusro Bukhtiar, MNA||Planning, Development & Reform Division|
|Postal Services||Murad Saeed, MNA||Postal Services Division|
|Privatization||Muhammad Mian Soomro, MNA||Privatization Division|
|Railways||Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, MNA||Railways Division|
|Religious Affairs and Inter faith Harmony||Noor-UI-Haq Qadri, MNA||Religious Affairs and Inter faith Harmony Division|
Advisors to Prime Minister, not in the above list by Ministries, also include:
Dr. Ishrat Hussain
Adviser to Prime Minister on Institutional Reforms and Austerity
Status of Federal Minister
Special Assistants to Prime Minister, not in the above list, by ministries:
1. Mirza Shahzad Akbar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability with the status of Minister of State
2. Mr. Naeem ul Haque, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Political Affairs with the status of Minister of State
3. Mr. Ali Nawaz Awan, MNA, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Capital Development Authority Affairs
4. Mr. Muhammad Usman Dar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Youth Affairs
5. Sardar Yar Muhammad Rind, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on activities pertaining to Ministries of Water Resources, Power and Petroleum in the Balochistan
6. Mr. Shahzad Syed Qasim, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Coordination of Marketing and Development of Mineral Resources with the status of Minister of State
7. Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Public Private Partnership