Asad Umar’s departure from the Finance Ministry may have dominated the news in the past couple of days but in the wake of this bombshell reports of a major cabinet reshuffle began filtering out as well. As the dust settled a completely new setup has emerged, although it is stocked with plenty of old faces.

The three most notable portfolios that changed hands were that of Finance, Interior, and Information and Broadcasting. Although there seems to an inexplicable and increasing reliance on advisors and assistants above actual ministers, for all intents and purposes these new appointees are to be considered de facto ministers.

When it comes to the embattled Finance Ministry, Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh is an experienced campaigner compared to the former incumbent. He served as the finance minister from 2010 to 2013 during the PPP government’s rule; as minister of finance, planning and development of Sindh from 2000-2002; and also as a minster during Pervez Musharraf administration. While he certainly has the required credentials for the post, the task ahead is complex and wrought with peril. He needs to hit the ground running and restore confidence into an economy that is teetering on the edge.

The Interior Ministry is an equally challenging portfolio. Brig Ijaz Ahmed Shah has seen a meteoric rise in this government’s ranks; he was appointed the federal minister for parliamentary affairs just last month, and has now been given a portfolio previously managed by the Prime Minister himself. Another veteran of the Musharraf administration, he is expected to make civil-military coordination much more smother, although he might have to face some political resistance along the way.    

Another ministry wrought with controversy has been the Information and Broadcasting. Fawad Chaudhry bellicose policies and abrasive behavior had alienated the most important stakeholder of the Ministry – the media. It is hoped that Firdous Ashiq Awan – another ex-PPP stalwart – is able to mend these fractured relations and help in the revival of this struggling industry.

Speaking of the former Information Minister; Fawad Chaudhry has been handed charge of the ministry for science and technology – the first minster for which was Nobel Prize winner Dr Abdus Salam. We have certainly come a long way. While it is difficult to see what a lawyer by profession can bring to the highly technical ministry, perhaps he can utilize his infamous silver tongue to secure a bigger budget for the ministry, which has never been one of our key priorities. 

Back in the fold is Azam Swati as well, whose self-imposed principled exile seems to have come to an end – of its own accord.