Ex-finance minister to head NA finance committee

Asad Umar said that he was offered a ministry but he decided not to become a part of the cabinet again and chose to be the chairman of NA’s Standing Committee on Finance. “In fact, I asked the prime minister for the chairmanship of this committee because I have some expertise in financial matters which I want to utilize,” Umar said.

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News Desk |

The federal government has decided to appoint Asad Umar as the chairman of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Finance 20 days after his removal from the office of finance minister.

Following the announcement, the ex-finance minister revealed that he was offered a ministry but he decided not to become a part of the cabinet again and chose to be the chairman of NA’s Standing Committee on Finance. He added that it was his “choice to become chairman of the NA’s Standing Committee on Finance.”

It was reported that the decision was taken after Prime Minister Imran Khan and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi held separate meetings with Umar to convince him to rejoin the federal cabinet. However, Umar while refusing their request to become a part of the cabinet expressed willingness to head the committee.

In a video statement, Shah had claimed that Reza Baqir, the IMF economist who was appointed as governor of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), was used as a middleman to convey IMF’s reservations over Umar’s performance.

“In fact I asked the prime minister for the chairmanship of this committee because I have some expertise in financial matters which I want to utilise,” Umar was quoted as saying by media. He said that he met the prime minister twice and thanked him for reposing confidence in him by deciding to appoint him chairman of the committee.

Umar Steps Down as Finance Minister

On April 18, Umar resigned from the federal cabinet after PM Imran removed him from the finance ministry and offered him the energy ministry.

Umar had announced via Twitter that he had obtained the prime minister’s consent “to not take any cabinet position” days after reports of a reshuffle in the cabinet were rubbished by the Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry.

Read more: Asad Umar resigns, decides not to take any cabinet position

“As part of a cabinet reshuffle, [the] prime minister desired that I take the energy minister portfolio instead of finance,” he said. “However, I have obtained his consent to not take any cabinet position.”

However, the prime minister has been adamant that Umar would rejoin his team. “Asad Umar is intelligent and he is precious [asset]. He will return to the cabinet soon,” Khan had told journalists at the Prime Minister’s Office.

Was Umar Removed on IMF’s Insistence?

Umar’s removal stirred a controversy, especially, in the backdrop of Pakistan’s ongoing negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Just a few days ago, the Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) senior leader Syed Khursheed Shah claimed that Umar was removed as finance minister on IMF’s insistence.

In a video statement, Shah had claimed that Reza Baqir, the IMF economist who was appointed as governor of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), was used as a middleman to convey IMF’s reservations over Umar’s performance.

Read more: SPEAKING TRUTH: Chinese diplomat calls Asad Umar ‘man of integrity’

“According to my information, Reza Baqir – since he was with the IMF in Egypt – was used in the move to sack Umar. Through him [Baqir] messages were conveyed that the IMF was not happy with Umar,” Shah had said.

“IMF representatives thought he [Umar] was ill-prepared at times or simply did not know enough, and there would be no breakthrough in negotiations if he was not removed,” he had added.

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