Miftah slams Dar, says someone 'competent' should have replaced him as finance minister

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Ishaq Dar (L) and Miftah Ismail. —Ishaq Dar/ facebook/AFP
Ishaq Dar (L) and Miftah Ismail. —Ishaq Dar/ facebook/AFP
  • Dar's philosophy had negative implications: Miftah.
  • People's factories were shut down to satisfy Dar's ego, says Miftah.
  • PML-N has other competent people as well, says former finance minister.

Former finance minister Miftah Ismail Thursday once again took a jibe at Ishaq Dar, saying that if the PDM government had to fire him then they should have replaced him with an "economist" who is "competent".

In an interview with a private news channel, the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) leader said that there are other capable people in the party like Ahsan Iqbal. He added that he would not talk about Dar's competence but his approach in dealing with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was counter-productive.

He said that the economic situation would not have worsened to such an extent if Pakistan had secured the IMF bailout deal with the terms of the international lender in October 2022.

Miftah said that Dar's philosophy to talk to the global lender "eye to eye" had negative implications. He said that the approach resulted in the country's foreign reserves plummeting to $2.9 billion with the government still having to increase the petrol price by Rs35.

People's factories were shut down owing to Dar's egoistic policies, said Miftah. 

"What benefit did the country get from selling cheap petrol, punishing the exporters, and increasing the default risk?" asked the PML-N leader.

IMF deal still not sealed

On Thursday, Pakistan and IMF failed to reach a staff-level agreement after 10 days of "tough" parleys aimed at unlocking critical funds needed for 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 finance czar.

In a statement released late Thursday night, Secretary of Finance Hamed Sheikh, without giving further details, announced that "an agreement has already been struck with the IMF on prerequisite measures”.