Former finance minister Miftah Ismail said Thursday that at least an “economist-type” person who was “competent” should have replaced him if the Pakistan Democratic Movement government had to remove him.
Miftah Ismail, while talking in an interview with a private news channel, said that there are other capable people in the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), such as Ahsan Iqbal.
The former finmin added he would not comment on Dar’s competence but his strategy in dealing with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was counter-productive.
Miftah added that the economic situation would not have deteriorated to such an extent if Pakistan had secured the IMF bailout deal complying with the terms of the global lender in October 2022.
He said Dar’s “eye-to-eye” approach with the global lender had negative implications for the economy. He said that owing to Dar’s strategy, the country’s foreign reserves plummeted to $2.9 billion, and the government still had to increase the petroleum price by Rs35.
He questioned: “What benefit did the country get from selling cheap petrol, punishing the exporters, and increasing the default risk?”
Miftah said, people’s factories were shut down owing to Dar’s egoistic policies.
IMF deal still not sealed
On Thursday, the Pakistan and IMF failed to reach a staff-level agreement after 10 days of “tough” parleys aimed at unlocking critical funds needed for a cash-strapped nation.
The development came as negotiations, which took place from January 31 to February 9, with the global lender — which was visiting Pakistan at the government’s request — and the local authorities concluded in Islamabad.
Finance Minister Dar was due to hold a press conference for the much-awaited resumption of the programme, however, no official announcement was made by the financial czar.
In a statement released late Thursday night, Finance Secretary Hamed Sheikh, without giving further details, announced that “an agreement has already been struck with the IMF on prerequisite measures”.