PPP authorizes Gilani to downsize Cabinet

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Islamabad: The ruling Pakistan People’s Party on February 4 authorized Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to dissolve his jumbo Cabinet and form a smaller council of Ministers amid demands for political reforms from the Opposition and international donors.

The PPP’s central executive committee gave Gilani the go-ahead to dissolve the Cabinet during a meeting chaired by party chief and President Asif Ali Zardari at the presidency.

The party’s leadership authorized Gilani to appoint a smaller Cabinet with fewer Ministers, who have “a reputation of integrity, competence and efficiency,” said a statement issued by the PPP.

The decision to dissolve the Cabinet was made after Zardari invited comments from PPP leaders on his intention of installing a “lean Cabinet whose members are above board.”

All Ministers, advisors and officials holding positions with the rank of Ministers will cease to hold their posts from a date to be “soon decided by the Prime Minister,” the statement said.

The decision on dissolving the 62-member Cabinet will be made after consultations with partners in the PPP-led coalition at the center and “under the guidance and advice” of Zardari.

Presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar said: The PPP is facing pressure from the main opposition PML-N party and Western donors like the International Monetary Fund to reduce the size of the federal Cabinet and to make significant cuts in government spending. The PML-N has demanded the formation of a smaller Cabinet as part of its 10-point agenda for reforms that was accepted by the PPP last month.

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