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Pakistan appoints economist to head finance ministry in run-up to election

Miftah Ismail has been made an adviser to the prime minister for finance, with the status of a federal minister

Gulf News

Karachi

Pakistan has appointed an economist, who was recently chairman of the board of investment, to take charge of the finance ministry after the former minister was relieved of his duties amid accusations of corruption.

Miftah Ismail has been made an adviser to the prime minister for finance, with the status of a federal minister, the government said in a notification.

“Although I will have stewardship of the Ministry of Finance for only 5 months, the prime minister has tasked me to help him implement a very ambitious agenda,” Ismail said in a post on Twitter.

He was referring to general election due next year and widely expected in May, though no date has been fixed.

The former finance minister, Ishaq Dar, was relieved of his portfolio on November 22 amid mounting headwinds for the $300 billion economy battling to stave off balance of payments pressures due to dwindling foreign currency reserves and a widening current account deficit.

Dar, who was widely credited with navigating Pakistan out of a 2013 balance of payments crisis, is facing corruption charges in connection with accusations he amassed wealth beyond his known sources of income.

Dar has denied all charges. He is receiving treatment in London for a heart condition.

Ismail is a member of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s political party, which is still the ruling party even though Sharif was ousted amid corruption allegations in July.

Sharif has also denied any wrongdoing.

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