Miftah ‘happy’ to quit as Dar confirms homecoming

Dar was also part of the government’s economic team and was involved in SBP interviews

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Miftah Ismail speaks during an interview with Reuters at his office, in Islamabad, Pakistan June 11, 2022. PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Miftah Ismail has said he would be content with being replaced with senior PML-N leader Ishaq Dar and would happily vacate the post for the latter if the party leadership decided to do so.

In an interview with a private news channel on Tuesday, Miftah addressed the swirling speculations that Ishaq Dar was likely to return to Pakistan in the third week of July, and shrugged off the matter, saying he “does not feel anything about it”.

The former finance minister can head back to the country if he desired so, he added.

“He is our elder and already a part of the economic team,” the incumbent finance minister said and revealed that recent economic decisions, including the ones to withdraw subsidies on fuel, came after taking the PML-N stalwart on board.

He further said that Dar was also part of the government’s economic team and was involved in SBP interviews.

However, the minister said he would be reluctant to accept the role of state minister for finance. “This, of course, won’t happen. I won’t become the state minister after being the federal minister.”

Ishaq confirms his return

The finance minister’s statement followed Ishaq Dar confirming his return to the country next month to the BBC Urdu, saying he was currently preparing for his homecoming.

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Asked about his possible role in the current government’s economic policies on his return to Pakistan and taking over as finance minister, Ishaq Dar said he would take oath as a senator on his return to the country and maintained it was the discretion of the party as to which person should be given what responsibility.

Speaking about the cases against him in Pakistan and his bail, Dar said there was only one case against him filed by former prime minister Imran Khan, stressing it was a “fake” case.

“That is why when Imran Khan’s government approached Interpol seeking my extradition to Pakistan, the documents shared with Interpol turned out to be completely unsubstantiated,” he recalled, adding the international body had exonerated him.

It is pertinent to note that the development comes amid rumours that since Miftah was appointed under Section 9 of Article 91 of the Constitution –induction of non-elected to the cabinet – Dar is eligible to assume responsibilities as finance minister as he is elected parliamentarian.

Under the law, if a person is not a member of any of the two houses of the parliament and he is appointed a minister, he would have to be elected to the National Assembly within six months.
Nonetheless, reports said the PML-N stalwart will have to be through with cases against him before assuming responsibilities as a senator.

The PML-N leader, who has served as a federal minister for finance four times between 1998 and 2017, has been living in self-exile in the United Kingdom since November 2017.

‘No regrets’

Explaining the rationale behind the government’s recent “tough decisions” that resulted in skyrocketing inflation during the interview with the news channel, Miftah also said he did not regret any decision and gladly chose to fuel prices “because it served the country’s interest”.

“If anyone has campaigned the most in our government for these decisions then it is me. It’s not hidden that I said since the first day that petrol prices [should be increased].”

Courtesy : Express Tribune