Pakistan’s former finance minister Ishaq Dar, back from London, will take charge next week to resuscitate cash-strapped economy : The Tribune India
Islamabad, September 25
Pakistan’s former finance minister Ishaq Dar will end his exile in London and is expected to return to the country this week to ‘facilitate’ Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s efforts to resuscitate the cash-strapped economy by taking over the portfolio finance key, according to a media report on Sunday.
The decision on the return of the 72-year-old top leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party was taken during a meeting between Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his brother Nawaz Sharif in London on Saturday.
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah also confirmed the return of Dar, who served as Pakistan’s four-time finance minister, at a press conference on Saturday.
“Ishaq Dar is coming back to help Prime Minister Shehbaz on economic affairs,” the interior minister told a news conference in Lahore.
The Dawn newspaper reported that Shehbaz Sharif stopped in London on his way back from the United Nations General Assembly and met his older brother and party supremo Nawaz Sharif on Saturday.
The Sharif brothers during the hour-long meeting at Shehbaz’s flat on Edgware Road discussed the political and economic situation in Pakistan, as well as the development of Dar’s return to take charge of the Ministry of Finance.
Dar’s return to Pakistan was made possible after a responsible court in Islamabad on Friday suspended the warrant for his arrest in an alleged corruption case in which he was found to be an offender.
In 2017, the court declared Dar – who is in London – a fugitive in a corruption case after he failed to appear in the trial against him.
The Dawn report says Dar was also present at the meeting between the Sharif brothers where it was decided that he would take charge of the economy starting next week.
Miftah Ismail, whose term as finance minister ends on October 18, is expected to remain in the cabinet as an adviser.
In a brief interaction with reporters after Saturday’s meeting, Dar said, “We have another meeting tomorrow, so I can share more tomorrow.” When asked if he would take over the finance ministry, he replied: “We discussed a lot of things but I can share the decisions tomorrow. It was a family reunion, not a formal reunion [one].” He added that he had been booked to travel to Pakistan on Wednesday.
For months now, sources close to Nawaz Sharif have detailed how the prime minister’s older brother was unhappy with Ismail’s economic policies and was eager for Dar to replace the current finance minister, as there had been disputes on key economic decisions.
Reports that Nawaz Sharif walked out of a party meeting over a fuel price hike in August added to the perception that he and Ismail were not on the same page when it came to the Pakistani economy.
An insider, who spoke to Dawn on condition of anonymity, said: “If they weren’t happy with Miftah, they should have told him to go home. Keep him as finance minister but constantly undermine him n The source added that Ismail learned of Dar’s impending appointment as finance minister through the media and it was not communicated to him by the prime minister.
Ismail did not respond to requests for comment.
“These leaders of the Pakistani Muslim League-Nawaz, including the elder Sharif, want Senator-elect Dar to return and take over the finance ministry because he can better manage the economy as an experienced person,” a chief said. party at Dawn. “Dar is likely to assume leadership of the ministry this month.” Asked about the possible return of the elder Sharif, the Home Minister said, “Nawaz Sharif was asked to lead the party’s campaign in the upcoming general elections and he accepted it.” The Dawn also reported that regarding the imminent appointment of the head of the Pakistani army, Sanaullah said: “If the appointment of the head of the institution is done under pressure or before time, it will be detrimental. at the institution. The appointment of the head of the army will be done according to the procedure provided in due time,” he stressed.
The army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, is due to retire in November this year.
On August 29, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved the release of a $1.17 billion tranche for the cash-strapped country, providing much-needed fiscal support to address fiscal and external deficits.
Despite the disbursement of the IMF tranche, the economic situation remains precarious, with depleted foreign exchange reserves amounting to only about $7.7 billion as of August 24.
The devastating floods, which claimed more than 1,500 lives and displaced more than 30 million people, worsened Pakistan’s foreign exchange problems, with an estimated loss of more than $10 billion to the economy.