Islamabad, Mar 29 (PTI) Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has removed Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh and appointed Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar in his place, the information minister said on Monday.

Prime Minister Khan decided to bring in a new finance team in view of "the inflation that had taken place", Minister for Information & Broadcasting Shibli Faraz was quoted as saying by Samaa TV news channel.

Azhar is the third finance minister to be appointed since Khan came to power in 2018.

Prime Minister Khan "gave the portfolio of finance to Azhar who is a young and able minister so that he devises policies according to the ground realities of Pakistan and the poor get relief", said Faraz.

He said more changes were likely to be announced by Tuesday.

"I am honoured to be entrusted with the additional charge of Finance by the Prime Minister," Azhar tweeted.

He said Pakistan's economy has made significant gains towards stabilisation since 2018.

"We shall continue to consolidate these gains and strengthen the growth momentum. We navigated econ fallout of covid-19 fairly well. The world is witnessing supply chain disruptions & rise in food prices. We shall endeavour to protect our ppl from these shocks. With hard work & integrity, we will InshAllah build Naya Pakistan under leadership of @ImranKhanPTI," he tweeted.

Faraz refused to speculate about the future of Shaikh who completed a third stint in the three different governments of Pakistan, first serving under Pervez Musharraf and followed by as a cabinet member in the government of Yusuf Raza Gilani.

Shaikh's fate plunged into uncertainty after he lost the election of Senate elections against Yusuf Raza Gilani earlier this month. He was appointed finance minister in December last year but was not a member of the parliament.

Under the law, a person appointed as a minister should be a member of the parliament or should become its member within six months of appointment or lose the portfolio of minister.

Opposition parties had criticized Shaikh as an alleged nominee of IMF due to his reported links with the international financial institutions and celebrated his removal as their success.

Pakistan People’s Party leader Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said it was a victory of opposition alliance Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) as Shaikh was defeated by Gilani who was supported by PDM.

"Sacking Finance minister is victory of PDM...Now government admits inflation is skyrocketing because of its failed policies. Parliamentary opposition proven most effective vs this regime,” he said.