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Islamabad, Feb 11 – Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s recent decision of stuffing as many special assistants as he can into an already big fat federal cabinet has not only drawn widespread condemnation but also led experts to say that it is an “insensitive” move which has cost the taxpayers large sums of money amid an ongoing economic crunch.
Since coming to power in April last year, Sharif has been calling for austerity but the frequent expansion of the cabinet by inducting more people as special assistants to the premier without adopting a clear criteria and process has raised several eyebrows, The Express Tribune reported.
Former senator and lawyer Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar and former minister of state and Board of Investment of Pakistan (BoI) chairman Haroon Sharif, among others, lashed out at the PML-N led ruling alliance for being disconnected with the masses, calling for cutting the cabinet’s size amid the worst financial crisis.
“The government has shown real insensitivity by appointing several more SAPM’s at a time when the country is going through one of the worst financial crises in its history,” the former senator said.
“The common man is not left with any fiscal space to go on with his daily life with dignity.”
While reacting to the coalition government’s federal cabinet swelling to 85 members, Khokhar said that it showed that “the ruling elites are not only tone deaf but disconnected from the masses” to the extent that they had no idea about the choices people were being forced to make regarding meeting kitchen expenses as well as paying their bills, rents and children’s school fees, The Express Tribune reported.
To the government ministers’ claim that the new appointments won’t burden the national kitty, Khokhar said that the government might harp on about the new appointees being no burden on the exchequer but at the end of the day they would be given offices and the paraphernalia that comes with it.
“This posturing is just an eyewash,” he said.