Pakistan’s finance minister steps down ahead of International Monetary Fund deal

PTI leader Asad Umar in discussion with journalist Kashif Abbasi on ARY News programme Off The Record on Thursday night. — Screengrab

PTI leader Asad Umar in discussion with journalist Kashif Abbasi on ARY News programme Off The Record on Thursday night. — Screengrab

Umar, who recently returned from a trip to the U.S. in which the details of Pakistan's next International Monetary Fund bailout were finalised, said he has obtained Prime Minister Imran Khan's consent "to not take any cabinet position".

Asad Umar, the former chief executive of Engro, Pakistan's biggest private conglomerate, said he strongly believed that Khan was the best hope for Pakistan. Those being discussed included Dr Abdul Hafiz Sheikh, Dr Hafiz Pasha and Shaukat Tareen.It is the first major reshuffle in the Cabinet since Khan became the prime minister eight months ago.

In a major Cabinet reshuffle yesterday (April 18), Brig (Retd) Ijaz Ahmed Shah was appointed Federal Minister for Interior, a portfolio which rested with Prime Minister Imran Khan since the formation of the cabinet in September previous year.

Hafeez Shaikh has been given the status of a federal minister.

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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.

The notification of Mr Shaikh's appointment has also been issued.

"As part of a cabinet reshuffle PM desired that I take the energy minister portfolio instead of finance".

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Azam Swati, who resigned past year, has been appointed as minister for parliamentary affairs.

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Imran Khan-led government and finance minister Umar in particular have faced mounting criticism by opposition parties and members of the business community over the handling of the economic crisis.

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.

Minister of State for Interior and Shehryar Afridi was shifted and appointed as Minister of State for States and Frontier Regions.

Ghulam Sarwar Khan, who was the petroleum minister, has been shifted to aviation ministry. Mohammad Mian Soomro would cease to hold portfolio of aviation and would be just the minister for privatisation.

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