LAHORE    -   The much awaited reshuffle in Punjab cabinet is on the cards but the chief minister is awaiting a nod from the prime minister before assigning new portfolios to the ministers, The Nation has learnt.

The expected change is most likely to come after Prime Minister’s next visit to the provincial capital which is likely in two weeks time or even before.   

The portfolios of at least five ministers are likely to be changed this month, said the sources. In this context, they mentioned the names of Minister for Health Dr Yasmin Rashid, Agriculture Minister Malik Noman Ahmad Langrial, Minister for Women Development, Ashifa Riaz Ahmad, Minister for Population Welfare Hashim Dogar and Minister for Livestock and Dairy Development Hussnain Bahadur Dareshak. The sources also did not rule out the possibility of induction of new faces in the provincial cabinet as some of the existing ministers may be removed from their present position. 

It has been learnt that Prime Minister Imran Khan is not satisfied with the performance of some of the ministers and wanted to change their portfolios. Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar Monday had an important meeting with the Prime Minister Imran Khan at Islamabad. Reportedly, the issue of cabinet reshuffle was also discussed in that meeting besides the proposed police reforms to be introduced in Punjab soon.  

Meanwhile, Punjab Governor Ch Mohammad Sarwar Monday expressed his ignorance about any change in the Punjab cabinet.

“The power to make changes in the cabinet lies with the Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar”, he told the media at Governor House yesterday.

On the other hand, the provincial ministers whose names are circulating in the official circles for possible change of portfolios are perturbed over the situation.

In their off the record conversation with The Nation yesterday, they questioned the very basis of their expected removal or change of portfolio citing the rules of business which limit their role in their respective domains. 

 “Has the Government set any key performance indicators to evaluate a minister’s performance?”, a minister raised this question and then himself replied in the negative. He said there was no set criterion to judge the performance of a minister who can only give policy guidelines to the administrative secretary heading his department. 

“A minister cannot execute his policy without cooperation of the administrative secretary who reports to the chief secretary and the chief minister”, he maintained, adding that a minister cannot transfer even a peon in his department.   

Another minister raised the issue of frequent transfers and postings of administrative secretaries in various departments. “Some key departments like health, education, irrigation and finance have had three to four secretaries in one year”, he said, adding that it takes a long time to develop a working relationship with the an administrative secretary to execute the policies.     

Also, the issue of enforcement of new police reforms in Punjab has been deferred for at least one week to make them more comprehensive and acceptable to the police officers. Decision to this effect was taken at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan at Islamabad. Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, Punjab IGP Arif Nawaz and PM’s close aides attended the meeting. Punjab IGP apprised the PM about the reservations expressed by senior police officers over the proposed reforms. Of late, top police hierarchy has shown resentment over the proposed role being assigned to the officers of Pakistan Administrative Service PAS) in the new police set up. Prime minister reportedly gave one week time to chief minister and his team to allay the fears of police officers about the new system of policing.

Previously, the Punjab government had plans to enforce the police reforms through an ordinance by 30th September, but now the same has been delayed after this development.