Sat, 10 Dec 2022

Islamabad [Pakistan], September 25 (ANI): Pakistan Finance Minister Miftah Ismail has stepped down as the finance minister of the country and a senior PML-N leader Ishaq Dar is all set to become Pakistan's new financial czar, media reports said.

The decision to appoint Dar as finance minister appears to be a desperate move by PML-N heavyweights not only to tackle the country's debilitating economy but also to regain its lost political clout right ahead of the next general elections, reported The Express Tribune.

Dar, the senator-elect, is likely to take oath as the finance minister as early as the coming Tuesday.

The decision on the change of guards in the finance department came following an important party meeting which was held in London under the chairmanship of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in London on Sunday, reported The Express Tribune.

Among the leaders who attended the meeting were Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, outgoing finance minister Miftah Ismail and other party leaders including Ishaq Dar and Malik Muhammad Ahmad Khan.

Even at this huddle, the government leaders did not fall short of blaming former PM Imran Khan-led PTI for bringing the economy of the country to ruins. The participants said that the incumbent government had to "put out the fire of economic disaster" caused by the previous PTI-led regime.

For weeks, there has been speculation that incumbent Finance Minister Miftah Ismail would be replaced by Dar, with certain top members of the PML-N -- like Maryam Nawaz and Javed Latif -- on several occasions publicly attacking and disowning his policies, in particular, the inevitable reversal of the costly fuel subsidy introduced by the previous PTI government, the Dawn reported.

It is pertinent to mention here that the former finance minister left Pakistan four years back and is wanted in Pakistan in multiple cases.

A day ago, an accountability court had suspended an outstanding arrest warrant against Dar, paving the way for the former finance minister's return from London, where he has been living in 'self-exile' for the past five years or so.

Accountability Court Judge Mohammad Bashir issued a suspension order for a perpetual warrant of arrest against Dar, which was issued on December 11, 2017, after he absconded from an assets-beyond-means case. The warrants were suspended until October 7, giving the senator-elect a fortnight to surrender to the law.

The court suspended his arrest warrants on his lawyer Qazi Misbah's guarantee that Dar would come straight to the court after landing at the airport.

Earlier, in May, the Pakistan court issued a perpetual arrest warrant against former Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in "corruption reference".

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had filed the reference against Dar, who has been declared an absconder in the case since he has missed hearings owing to his prolonged stay in London, that the former Minister had acquired assets beyond his known sources of income, Dawn newspaper reported. (ANI)

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