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Finance Minister’s dilemma

Setting aside the reports that Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has resigned from his portfolio, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb has termed the rumours fake. The minister claimed, “Ishaq Dar is just not well. He has not resigned from his post.” Maryam Aurangzeb also apprised Dar for boosting the confidence of the business community in Pakistan’s economy through his hard work. It was reported that Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is considering various options, including that of appointing a deputy finance minister and forming an economic advisory council of prominent people.
In case the PM decides to appoint a minister of state for finance, he will himself retain the portfolio of federal minister for finance. Reports have said that due to a precarious economic situation, the prime minister was keen to make an announcement to this effect within a few days. However, Marriyum Aurangzeb said that the report is not true. Earlier, media has reported Ishaq Dar has resigned from the ministry and a committee has been constituted to look after economic affairs of the country.
The PML-N government was under pressure from the opposition parties to assign the task as Dar was unable to deal with matters amid court cases and illness.
The anti-graft body has also moved to put his name on the exit control list, after which Dar ultimately decided to step down.
An accountability court on Nov 14 had issued non-bailable warrants for the embattled finance minister after he once again did not appear in person and sought an exemption due to his ailment through the counsel.
Dar was indicted on Sept 27 in NAB references filed corruption references against the Sharif Family including Ishaq Dar under Supreme Court’s July 28 verdict in Panama Papers case.
PM Abbasi may retain the portfolio with himself and a committee comprising PM’s Special Assistant on Economic Affairs Miftah Ismail and former State Bank governor Dr Ishrat Husain will manage the financial matters.
The affairs of finance ministry are suffering badly due to the absence of Finance Minster Ishaq Dar due to his illness and ongoing trail in NAB court. Ishaq Dar’s refusal to resign from the ministry may aggravate the situation and it may adversely impact the country’s economy. Prevailing uncertainty in the market is already creating negative impacts for the economy. Prime Mister must take steps to control the situation and should appoint minister of the state on urgent basis for properly looking after of the affairs of the ministry if the resignation of Dar from is not on the card.

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