finance
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

News Analysis |

After being relieved from the chairmanship of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC), Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has now also been removed from the helm of the Cabinet Committee on Privatization Affairs (CCoP). Arguably the most influential member of ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s cabinet, Ishaq Dar now seems to have been banished to the sidelines leaving many political observers wondering as to the reasons behind his fall from grace.

Reportedly, many senior PML-N leaders and ministers are not very fond of the Finance Minister due to his over bearing personality. Current Prime Minister Shahid Khaqqan Abbasi is rumored to be one of those who would be glad to see the back of Dar.

A long standing fixture in PML-N’s old guard, Ishaq Dar was perceived as Nawaz’s right hand. Entrusted with a broad range of authority, heading around 35 committees in the 2013 Nawaz government, Dar was known for his quick temper and attention to detail. As is always the case with power and influence, resentment from one’s peers is a given, and Dar is no exception.

Read more:Ishaq Dar trying desperately to land in Washington

Reportedly, many senior PML-N leaders and ministers are not very fond of the Finance Minister due to his over bearing personality. Current Prime Minister Shahid Khaqqan Abbasi is rumored to be one of those who would be glad to see the back of Dar.

Back in January of 2015, Abbasi – then petroleum minister – was made to take the brunt of the criticism for the shortfall in petrol supply. Experts agree that the crisis was the result of economic weakness rather than supply of petroleum but Abbasi was still made to take the fall, leaving Finance Minister Ishaq Dar’s reputation as an economic maestro unscathed. Although this may appear to be a minor fracas, it requires no leap of imagination to conclude that this episode would have left Abbasi – now PM – bereft of any sympathy for Dar.

However, it is highly unlikely that Dar’s current predicament is solely the result of professional grudges held by his peers. After all, Nawaz Sharif and his family still appear to be in the driving seat of the current PML-N government. Is it possible that Dar – who is joined to the Sharif family by the marriage of his son to the youngest daughter of Nawaz – may have lost the trust of his son’s in-laws?

If the successive and unceremonious dismissals suffered by him are any indication, heat from the ongoing scrutiny by NAB and the SC may be touching the enthalpy of the Dar-Sharif bond.   

Dar has no political constituency. He derived his power from his most powerful benefactor, Nawaz Sharif, who trusted him despite the post-Musharraf-coupe debacle; the incriminating Hudaibiya Paper Mills confessional statement in which Dar detailed the Sharif family’s purported financial wrongdoings in return for immunity. He has since dismissed his statement as one taken under duress and hence without weight. Water under the bridge, or is it?

Read more:Love letter to Ishaq Dar from a fan

Consider; Dar appears before the fearsome Panama JIT; he is presented with the option of either sticking to the “taken under duress” story, whereby he would lose any claim to immunity in the (likely) event that the Hudaibiya Paper Mills case is reopened, or quietly abstain from offering any defense concerning the Sharif’s financial irregularities and retain the possibility of immunity.

Whatever happened at the Federal Judicial Academy, Dar was unnerved. His quavering statement made that much evident.

Could his loyalty have withstood this test? The jury is still out on that one. But if the successive and unceremonious dismissals suffered by him are any indication, heat from the ongoing scrutiny by NAB and the SC may be touching the enthalpy of the Dar-Sharif bond.

Comments & Discussion