Imran Khan axes Finance Minister amid IMF talks
Islamabad: Asad Umar was removed as Pakistan Finance Minister on Thursday after mounting criticism over the state of the economy. In a tweet, Umar said the move was “part of a cabinet reshuffle” and that Prime Minister Imran Khan offered him the energy portfolio.
“As part of a cabinet reshuffle, (the) Prime Minister desired that I take the Energy Minister portfolio instead of finance. However, I have obtained his consent to not take any cabinet position.”
“I strongly believe @ImranKhanPTI is the best hope for Pakistan and insha Allah will make a Naya Pakistan,” he tweeted.
The Express Tribune reported that Umar had resigned from his position in the cabinet.
The change in the Finance Ministry comes at a time when Pakistan is in the middle of negotiating a new relief package with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Umar had just returned from a trip to Washington during which details of Pakistan’s next IMF bailout were finalised, documented and signed.
He had said earlier an IMF mission was expected to visit Islamabad before month end to work out technical tables since all major issues had been settled and documented.
After resigning from his post, Umar told reporters, “it was time to make some difficult decisions to stabilise the economy” and that he hopes his replacement would be supported in his efforts.
“This does not mean I am not available to forward PTI’s vision for ‘Naya Pakistan’. I am and will always be available to forward the interests of the country,” Umar said.
Pakistan Muslim League (N) leader and Umar’s brother Mohammad Zubair while speaking to DawnNewsTV said he hoped “whoever comes now will take a running start and implement the things that need to be done”.
Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government in general and the Finance Minister in particular have been facing mounting criticism by opposition, the business community and citizens over the handling of economic crisis.