Rezaul H Laskar
Islamabad, Feb 4 (PTI) The ruling Pakistan People''sParty today authorised Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani todissolve his jumbo cabinet and form a smaller council ofministers amid demands for political reforms from theopposition and international donors.
The PPP''s central executive committee gave Gilani thego-ahead to dissolve the cabinet during a meeting chaired byparty chief and President Asif Ali Zardari at the presidency.
The party''s leadership authorised Gilani to appoint asmaller cabinet with fewer ministers who have "a reputation ofintegrity, competence and efficiency," said a statement issuedby the PPP.
The decision to dissolve the cabinet was made afterZardari invited comments from PPP leaders on his intention ofinstalling a "lean cabinet whose members are above board".
All ministers, advisors and officials holdingpositions with the rank of ministers will cease to hold theirposts from a date to be "soon decided by the Prime Minister,"the statement said.
The decision on dissolving the 62-member cabinet willbe made after consultations with partners in the PPP-ledcoalition at the centre and "under the guidance and advice" ofthe PPP co-chairman Zardari, presidential spokesmanFarhatullah Babar said.
The PPP is facing pressure from the main oppositionPML-N party and Western donors like the International MonetaryFund to reduce the size of the federal cabinet and to makesignificant cuts in government spending.
The PML-N has demanded the formation of a smallercabinet as part of its 10-point agenda for reforms that wasaccepted by the PPP last month.
The PML-N has also demanded that its agenda should beimplemented by February 20.
Donors like the IMF and the US have been pushing thegovernment to slash spending and introduce tax reforms,including a reformed general sales tax regime, for continuedfinancial aid.
Addressing a news conference after the meeting of thecentral executive committee, PPP secretary general JahangirBadar said the party initially unanimously authorisedPresident Zardari to dissolve or reshuffle the cabinet or makeany other arrangements.
Zardari then authorised Prime Minister Gilani todissolve the cabinet and choose a new council of ministersafter consultations with the PPP''s leaders and its coalitionpartners, Badar said.
The Prime Minister will dissolve the cabinet at a timeof his choosing and no timeframe has been set for this, headded. .