Asad Umar Decides to Resign from the Post of Finance Minister

Marriyum Aurangzeb

Marriyum Aurangzeb

Imran Khan was widely expected to turn to a steady hand to replace businessman Asad Umar, who was the former chief executive of Engro, Pakistan's biggest private conglomerate.

"I$3 want to thank the many many people who expressed support over the last two days", the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader tweeted on Saturday.

Umar tweeted Thursday, April 18, 2019 that Prime Minister Imran Khan offered him the energy portfolio in the Cabinet but he refused.

"As part of a cabinet reshuffle, (the) Prime Minister desired that I take the Energy Minister portfolio instead of finance".

Prime Minister Imran Khan's eight-month-old administration has faced sustained criticism from political opponents, independent commentators and the business community over the government's handling of the economic crisis facing the country.

On Thursday evening, Asad Umer announced on Twiter that he had obtained the prime minister's consent "to not take any cabinet position".

Pakistan has so far received a total of United States dollars 9.1 billion in financial aid packages from friendly countries like China, Saudi Arabia and the UAE during the current fiscal year. But Sheikh's achievements were two-fold: (i) his engagement with the stock market players culminating in an agreement that would have enabled the government to gradually generate resources from the stock market comparable to what other neighbouring countries generate (a deal that was overturned by Ishaq Dar); and (ii) while he was unable to openly oppose or resist the political decisions taken by the PPP leadership, he nonetheless delayed their implementation by setting up committees bringing to mind the old proverb a camel is a horse designed by a committee.

Responding to a question, the finance minister defended his performance and said "Who says that I have failed in achieving what I wanted to achieve?" "This is already too late, the next person should have come in earlier, at least a month ago", Umar told reporters in response to a question on his replacement. Dr Zafarullah Mirza was appointed as Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on National Health Services in place of Amir Kiani who was sacked.

Earlier in the day Asad Umar, announcing that he would step down, said Pakistan would still go into an International Monetary Fund programme but warned his successor that he faces a tough job ahead.

Firdous Ashiq Awan has been appointed as PM's special assistant on media affairs while former information minister Fawad Chaudhry will now head Science and Technology Ministry.

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