Pakistan FinMin Asad Umar steps down from cabinet amid International Monetary Fund negotiation
- Author: Anthony Vega Apr 20, 2019,
Apr 20, 2019, 0:43
Moreover, a loyalist of former President General Pervez Musharraf and ex-spymaster Brig Ijaz Ahmed Shah, whose appointment last month as Parliamentary Affairs minister came as a big surprise, has been chosen as federal interior minister. Despite owing around United States dollars 10 billion to Beijing and Riyadh, Islamabad is seeking another bailout package of USD 8 to 10 billion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Notably, the portfolio was so far kept by Prime Minister Khan himself.
Pakistan's finance minister said Thursday he will step down amid a wave of criticism over the government's handling of a financial crisis that has sent prices soaring.
"The next budget will be a hard one", he added, referring to annual spending plans for the financial year ending June 2020 due to announced in May.
Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan was appointed as Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Nadeem Babar appointed as SAPM on Petroleum Division.
Azam Khan Swati, former federal minister for science and technology who had resigned after facing a probe regarding his alleged role in the transfer of Islamabad's police chief, has been brought back to the federal cabinet.
Health Minister Amir Mehmood Kiyani, who had also been in hot waters due to a recent controversy over increase in prices of medicines, was also removed from his position after receiving presidential assent.
Speculation that Umar would leave had been rife for months, with some business groups and investors unhappy with his strategy of seeking short-term loans from allies such as China and Saudi Arabia instead of finalising an International Monetary Fund rescue package after Khan assumed power in August.
Khan's government has got temporary relief from allies including China and Saudi Arabia, who offered short-term loans worth more than $10 billion to buffer foreign currency reserves and ease pressures on the current account.
But it was not enough. The rupee currency has also lost about 35 per cent since December 2017.