Federal Cabinet Is Now 'Largest Ever' With 77 Members

Federal Cabinet Is Now 'Largest Ever' With 77 Members
The Federal Cabinet is now the largest-ever with the induction of Fahd Haroon as Special Assistant to the Prime Minister, it emerged on Thursday.

The induction was made earlier today (Jan 19), according to a notification issued by the Cabinet Division.

According to the communiqué, the new adviser's role will be equivalent to that of a Minister of State.

Earlier today, Minister of State for Finance Aisha Ghaus Pasha said that the government was willing to accept all conditions of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in order to revive the deal with them.

"The government is willing to make tough decisions," Pasha said during a briefing to the Senate's Standing Committee on Finance.

According to the minister, the government doesn't want to burden people, but that the 'IMF wants to steer us in a different direction.'

The lawmaker highlighted that the country was up against tough times. "The situation is extraordinary and it calls for efforts in unison," she stressed.

Pasha added that the government was fully cognisant of the situation and in process of engaging the IMF.

"The notion that we do not have a crisis-management plan at work is false," she maintained.

Pakistan is facing existential multi-dimensional crises of politics and economy with a highly dysfunctional state. It is about much more than democracy and debt. Short-term fixes and political engineering may not work this time. The country needs a radical break from the past policies but nobody wants to do it. Hence Pakistan could sink deeper into the quagmire especially if the IMF programme is not resumed within the next few weeks. There is no sign that the talks with the IMF are going to start soon as was previously indicated by the prime minister.

The government projected around $10 billion of pledges made at the Geneva Climate Conference of Pakistan’s donors as a great success but 90 percent of those are in the form of project loans to be utilised over a period of time and hence unlikely to help with the immediate balance of payments crisis. Further, there is a big question mark on whether the lending institutions would disburse the loans without the resumption of the IMF programme.