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Ishaq Dar arrives in Pakistan along with PM Shehbaz

The PML-N leader said a fake case was registered against him for not submitting tax returns for 20 years



Ishaq Dar arrives in Pakistan along with PM Shehbaz
GNN Media: Representational Photo

Islamabad: Former finance minister and PML-N leader Ishaq Dar landed in Pakistan along with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday.

Dar had been living in self-imposed exile in the UK for the last five years. Federal Minister of Finance Miftah Ismail and Federal Minister of Information and Broadcasting Maryam Aurangzeb also returned home.

PM Shehbaz and his delegation reached Islamabad directly from London in a special plane.

According to aviation sources, the plane carrying the premier and his delegation landed at Noor Khan Air Base.

Before leaving for Pakistan, Dar told a private news channel that the whirlwind Pakistan had gone through for four years was not hidden from anyone.

He said by the grace of Allah today he was called back to the same office from where he had gone to London for his medical.

Dar said under the leadership of Nawaz Sharif from 2023 to 2017, we [Pakistan] were going to become the 18th biggest economy in the world, the interest rate was the lowest and the growth rate was also high, while other micro indicators were excellent and at a high level.

Foreign exchange reserves were also at the highest level, while the Pakistani rupee was also stable, he added.

He said efforts would be made to prevent declining country's economy and correct its direction.

The PML-N leader said a fake case was registered against him for not submitting tax returns for 20 years, adding he never delayed in submitting tax returns.

Dar wants to take country out of ‘economic rut’

Pakistan prime ministerial aide Ishaq Dar said on Monday he would take up the role of finance minister for the fourth time, adding that he wanted to get Pakistan out of its economic rut and stressing he wanted a strong and stable rupee.

Ahead of his formal appointment, the rupee had risen throughout the day after reports that he would take up the role, a change that comes in the midst of an economic crisis in Pakistan that has been exacerbated by deadly floods.

"Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has asked me to accept the responsibilities of finance minister," Dar said in a statement broadcast on state television on Monday evening. "By the grace of God, I will try my best to get Pakistan out of this economic rut."

During a previous tenure ending in 2017, Dar said Pakistan was going to become the world's 18th strongest economy, but the South Asian country is facing economic turmoil, exacerbated by widespread floods estimated to have cost it nearly $30 billion.

Dar is taking office, for the fourth time, with the challenge of getting the economy out of one of its worst balance of payment crises that has seen foreign reserves falling to a month of imports.

The IMF board last month approved the seventh and eighth reviews of a bailout programme, allowing for a release of over $1.1 billion.

"Interest rate was lowest, the growth was highest, with the blessing of God, in decades, other macroeconomic indicators were excellent, reserves were highest, rupee was stable," Dar said on Monday of his 2013-17 tenure.

"So, we will be trying to get to that direction, that we stop the way the economy has been falling, and we change its direction."

The rupee rose 1.1% in interbank trading and over 3% in the open market after opening firmer in Monday's morning session as investors anticipated Dar's appointment, the state bank and forex exchange association said.

Dar has favoured a strong currency in his previous tenures as finance minister - from 1998-99, 2008 and 2013-17.

"The Dar factor is at play. There are memories of how he kept the dollar rate stable," said Fahad Rauf at Ismail Iqbal Securities.

"There is no way (the rupee) can sustainably move against the tide in the current scenario," Rauf said in reference to the dollar strengthening against all currencies.


Current Finance Minister Miftah Ismail said on Sunday he would quit - the fifth holder of the job to go in less than four years during persistent economic turbulence. read more

"God is sending me back to the same office," Dar said in a video statement telecast by local TV channels, referring to the finance ministry he quit after he flew to London in 2017 for medical check-ups amid pending corruption cases, which he says were politically motivated.

His arrest warrants have been suspended by an anti-graft court until Oct. 7, making his return to Pakistan possible.

The ruling party has repeatedly said it inherited a wrecked economy from former Prime Minister Imran Khan, who was ousted in a vote of no-confidence in April - an accusation dismissed by Khan.

As the new government took over, the rescue programme with the IMF was in the doldrums because of a lack of an agreed policy framework.

Ismail said he pulled the country out of a near default, but markets did not respond positively, with the rupee tumbling to a record low and inflation crossing over 27%.

Unpopular decisions Ismail took to adhere to the IMF preconditions, including rolling back power and fuel subsidies given by Khan in his last weeks in power, saw inflation rise above 27% and the rupee tumbling to historical low.