Dar returns home, vows to take Pakistan ‘out of economic vortex’

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday returned to the country after concluding his visit to New York and London in a special plane.

Ishaq Dar, the nominee for the slot of finance minister, accompanied the premier. With his return, the five-year self-exile of Mr Dar comes to an end. The senator-elect is expected to take oath of the Upper House of the Parliament today (Tuesday).

Outgoing finance minister Miftah Ismail and Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, who were part of the PM’s delegation, have also returned home. Talking to the media after landing at Nur Khan Airbase, Dar said he has reached Pakistan on the instructions of the party leader, Nawaz Sharif and Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif.

“We will take this country out of the economic vortex… we will take Pakistan out of the economic vortex like in 1999 and 2013-14, there is a lot of hope that we will go in a positive economic direction,” he added.

Earlier while talking to the media in London, Dar had said that “with the grace of Allah the Almighty is calling me back to the same office from which I came here for medical treatment”.

PM Shehbaz, who had gone to the UK to attend the funeral of Queen Elizabeth, had met his elder brother in London to discuss key political issues before departing to the US to attend the UN General Assembly session.

After the UNGA session, PM Shehbaz returned to London again and had a long meeting with his brother and Dar, who had left for the UK in October 2017 while he was standing trial in a corruption reference.

A day earlier, Finance Minister Miftah announced stepping down from his post following an important PML-N meeting which was held under the chairmanship of party supremo and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in London.

Miftah submitted his resignation to the PML-N supreme leader, saying the ministry was entrusted to him by the party.

“I worked to the best of my ability for four months, and remained loyal to the party and the country,” a PML-N statement quoted Miftah as saying during the meeting.

During the huddle, PM Shehbaz and party supremo Nawaz nominated Dar as the new finance minister of the country. The two main targets given to Dar by PML-N supremo Nawaz are to bring down inflation and decrease the dollar-rupee parity, a source close to the Sharif family told media on the condition of anonymity.

The source said Dar would draw on his vast experience from his previous stints and try to bring market forces under control. He added that the party needed a finance minister of Dar’s credentials, but some legal barriers had to be overcome first.

The source said Miftah too had made tall claims before the leadership of being capable of driving the country out of the seemingly inextricable maze the party had found the country’s economy in.

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