Pakistan cabinet members quit (Second Lead)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

ISLAMABAD - The members of Pakistan’s federal cabinet Wednesday tendered their resignations to Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani in a move to rightsize it.

The cabinet members tendered their resignations to Gilani to enable him announce a new council of ministers, Associated Press of Pakistan reported.

The Pakistan federal government has 54 ministers, including 17 ministers of state.

The resignations came at the last meeting of the cabinet held at the Prime Minister’s Secretariat here.

Gilani expressed gratitude to his cabinet colleagues for their assistance and improving governance.

The prime minister said a new cabinet would be formed within 24 hours, Dawn reported.

Federal Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan last month said President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani had decided on rightsizing the cabinet.

He said the decision to reduce the number of ministers in the new cabinet was with a view to cut down government expenditures.

A media report earlier said some ministers in the federal cabinet were being removed as part of rightsizing, apparently to meet a demand of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) to reduce expenditure.

PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif had given a 10-point charter of demands to the government Jan 4 and sought that it should be met within 45 days.

Nawaz had made it clear that if the demands were not met, the PML-N would be left with no option but to call for fresh elections.

Two ministers - Hamid Saeed Kazmi and Azam Khan Swati - have already been sacked. Swati had claimed that Kazmi was involved in corruption in Haj operations. The prime minister removed both of them, saying they had violated discipline.

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