Thursday Apr 01 2021
Web Desk

Cabinet reshuffle: The sarkaari game of musical chairs continues

Web Desk
Prime Minister Imran Khan. Photo: File

Since coming to power in 2018, Prime Minister Imran Khan has shuffled his cabinet six times. More than half the PM’s cabinet has had its portfolio changed at least once.

Artwork: Aisha Nabi/

April 2019: The first major hiring and firing in the country’s top decision-making body, the cabinet, took place in April 2019. 

The changes included handing over the portfolio of the ministry of science to Fawad Chaudhry and relieving him of the ministry of information.

On the same day, Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, a well-known economist, was appointed adviser to the prime minister on finance.

Prior to this, Asad Umar had resigned as the finance minister.

November 2019: Asad Umar did not stay out of the cabinet for long. 

In November, he took oath as the minister for planning and development. 

Khusro Bakhtiar, meanwhile, who previously held the portfolio of planning, was made the minister for national food security.

Artwork: Aisha Nabi/

April 2020: The cabinet went through another shuffle. 

One important change was removing Bakhtiar from the Ministry of Food and moving him to the Ministry of Economic Affairs. 

Fakhar Imam was now the new minister for food.

December 2020: Sheikh Rasheed was appointed the interior minister, and Hafeez Shaikh took oath as the finance minister. 

Ijaz Ahmed Shah, meanwhile, assumed charge as the Minister for Narcotics Control.

Artwork: Aisha Nabi/

March 2021: Hafeez Shaikh is removed as the federal minister for finance and Hammad Azhar is appointed in his place.

April 2021: Prime Minister Imran Khan signed off on the reshuffling of the federal cabinet yet again and appointed Shaukat Tareen as the country's new finance minister. 

Tareen has replaced federal minister Hammad Azhar, who was appointed as the country's finance minister in March when the premier replaced him with Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh.

Consequently, Hammad Azhar was appointed as the Minister for Energy, replacing Omar Ayub. Khusro Bakhtiar has been appointed the Minister for Industries and Production. Shibli Faraz has been appointed the Minister for Science and Technology, replacing Fawad Chaudhry. Fawad Chaudhry has been appointed the Minister for Information and Broadcasting, replacing Shibli Faraz, and Omar Ayub has been appointed as Minister for Economic Affairs, replacing Khusro Bakhtiar.

Which ministers have had their portfolio changed the most?

Khusro Bakhtiar

  • Ministry of Planning Development
  • Ministry of National Food Security & Research
  • Ministry of Economic Affairs

Ijaz Shah

  • Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs
  • Ministry of Interior
  • Ministry of Narcotics Control

Shehryar Afridi

  • Ministry of Narcotics Control
  • Ministry of States and Frontier Regions
  • Ministry of Interior
  • Chairman Parliamentary Committee on Kashmir

Ministers who have held on to their assigned ministries

There are a total of 30 ministers in the prime minister’s cabinet, including federal ministers and ministers of state. Of these men and women, only 14 have held on to their portfolios continuously since 2018. The rest have not.

Those who have remained in their ministries are:

  1. Pervez Khattak
  2. Zubaida Jalal
  3. Shafqat Mahmood
  4. Farogh Naseem
  5. Shah Mahmood Qureshi
  6. Tariq Bashir Cheema
  7. Shireen Mazari
  8. Fehmida Mirza
  9. Ali Amin Khan Gandapur
  10. Ali Haider Zaidi
  11. Noor-Ul-Haq Qadri
  12. Ali Muhammad
  13. Zartaj Gul
  14. Muhammad Shabbir Ali