ISLAMABAD - The long overdue reshuffle and expansion of the federal cabinet would likely to take place after the upcoming Senate elections due in the beginning of March with chances of some new faces to come in and some incumbent members to see change in their portfolios, even some of them will lose their slots.

Sources in the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, including those sitting in the federal cabinet, confirmed to The Nation that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was not at all satisfied with the performance of his some cabinet colleagues who were in the cabinet for second and third stint.

The sources said the prime minister was in the process of evaluating the performance of each and every minister and for this purpose all the ministers had already been asked to furnish their performance reports to the PM’s Office so that they could be ranked among their cabinet colleagues.

The sources aware of the developments taking place in the inner core of the party informed The Nation that a week ago Premier Sharif had held a detailed consultative meeting in Murree where the performance of the ministers as well as the fuel and energy crises in the country came under sharp focus.

The sources, quoting many in the party, said the ruling PML-N which seemed a bit relieved with the end of the sit-in of Imran Khan once again had come under a tremendous pressure due to the criminal negligence and inefficiency on part of some senior ministers in the cabinet.

According to the sources, at the Murree meeting which was attended by Interior Minsiter Ch Nisar Ali Khan, Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif with the prime minister in the chair, a loud and clear suggestion came from one of the participants that for political survival of the ruling PML-N ruthless scrutiny of the ministers’ performance was inevitable and all those falling short of performance must be shown the door irrespective of their stature and influence in the party.

The sources in the party said things were not so ideal for Nawaz Sharif as he would have to take into consideration so many matters before showing the door to some powerful colleagues in the cabinet while new induction was equally a tedious job as it would not be possible for the Sharifs of Raiwind to ignore some powerful players in the arena.

Though the dissidents in the party like Sardar Zulfiqar Khan Khosa and Ghaus Ali Shah could not dent the party as anticipated, the prime minister could not ignore the growing resentment in the party rank and file against the leadership, which could result in major fissures if things were not set right.

A senior party leader, on condition of anonymity, admitted substance in the charges of Khosa and Shah against the Sharifs and the growing resentment among the parliamentarians from central and southern Punjab.

The party sources said the first and foremost task of Sharifs was to secure maximum seats in the upcoming Senate elections to have a respectable total in the upper house even if it could not become the single largest party.

After the Senate elections, the prime minister would hold another consultative meeting over expansion and reshuffle in the federal cabinet with some newcomers while some of them could be shown the door in the light of their performance reports, a minister informed The Nation on condition of anonymity.

The party sources said Premier Sharif was not in a mood to take the cabinet strength to its maximum which is 49 or 50 as per the Constitution, because after the passage of 18th Amendment, the cabinet strength must not exceed 11 percent of the total number of members of the Parliament.

With 21 federal ministers, 10 state ministers, five advisers and five special assistants, the cabinet has already 41 members, so another eight or nine members can be inducted. But this limited room does not allow the ruling PML-N to lavishly dole out ministerial slots among the party MPs and its allies.

The ministers having additional portfolios would be relieved of their extra responsibilities and full-fledged ministers would be appointed to boost performance of the government.

The sources further revealed that special consideration would be given to the MPs from Seraiki belt and a couple of new faces would be taken from southern Punjab to appease them as they were annoyed with the party leadership for ignoring them after the elections.

The hostile and grilling statement of Federal Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination and Sports Riaz Hussain Pirzada against his own government fully reflected the resentment in Seraiki belt against the ruling PML-N, a source said, adding he might be shown the door in the next cabinet reshuffle.

To strengthen the party position in Sindh, another MP could be inducted in the cabinet from that province, most probably from interior Sindh where PML-N suffered a serious dent after Mumtaz Bhutto parted ways with them.