Mukhtar, Naveed swap portfolios
ISLAMABAD, June 2: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Saturday swapped the portfolios of Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar and Water and Power Minister Syed Naveed Qamar and the two senior members of the Pakistan People’s Party are expected to formally take charge of their new ministries on Monday.
The prime minister’s special assistant on political affairs, Fawad Chaudhry, told Dawn that the portfolios had been changed on the request of Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, who had recently made a presentation before the party leadership on the issue of power crisis.
Mr Mukhtar, he said, had made a claim before PPP Co-chairman and President Asif Ali Zardari that he could resolve the issue of electricity loadshedding within six months, if given the opportunity. He further said the prime minister was also not happy with the performance of some senior officials of the water and power ministry and believed that the ongoing electricity loadshedding was a result of their “incompetency” and not due to any financial crunch.
It is surprising that the 66-year-old Chaudhry from Gujarat has himself desired to get the charge of the ministry which is considered to be the most challenging in the wake of the ongoing power crisis in the country.
Mr Qamar had assumed the charge of the ministry last year when during a cabinet reshuffle, former foreign minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi refused to accept the portfolio. Mr Qureshi’s refusal led to his ouster from the PPP and he later joined the Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf.
Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar had defeated PML-Q president Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain in the 2008 general elections. It is interesting to note that Mr Mukhtar made the presentation on the power crisis to the party leadership a few weeks after Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain during an energy conference held in Lahore presented his own formula to eliminate the menace of loadshedding within days.
Meanwhile, a source at the Prime Minister’s Secretariat told Dawn that more changes at the water and power ministry were expected in the next few days.