News Desk |
A day after Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) struck a deal on a bailout package for about US$6 billion, the ex-finance minister Asad Umar said that he would point out the difference between the terms and conditions he had negotiated with IMF and those accepted by the new economic team of the government.
Days after his removal from the office of finance minister and after being elected the chairman of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs, Umar expressed that he would share with the committee the changes between the terms and conditions discussed by him and the new team led by the Advisor to Prime Minister Imran Khan on Finance, Revenue, and Economic Affairs Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh.
Umar, who is a close aide of PM Khan and was removed by Khan because of his “performance” in the last eight months, said that he would speak next week. He has called the next meeting of the committee on May 22 to seek briefing from the Ministry of Finance on the bailout package and an update on compliance with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
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.
“He [Umar] said he had repeatedly stated that he would not comment on the IMF programme during the course of negotiations but make full disclosure once the deal was signed,” Dawn reported.
Umar was of the view that it was the right of the parliamentary committee to be briefed on the IMF programme, adding that as finance minister it was his commitment to placing all details of the Fund programme before the standing committee.
Was IMF not Happy with Umar?
Following Umar’s removal, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) senior leader and former leader of the opposition in the National Assembly (NA) Syed Khursheed Shah had claimed that IMF was behind Umar’s sacking as it was not happy with his performance.
In a video statement, Shah had said that the international lender had used Reza Baqir, an economist attached with IMF who was later appointed as governor of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), was used as a middleman to convey the IMF’s reservations over Umar’s performance to the government.
“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.
Shaikh was brought in to replace Umar in major cabinet reshuffle in April. When asked the reason given for his ouster, Umar had said: “He [PM Imran] wants a new team to come in and do things.”
Umar was relieved of his duties as part of a massive cabinet reshuffle in April. He was offered the energy portfolio but he had refused, fuelling speculation that he may have been upset at the development — a notion he vehemently denies.
Was Umar Sacked Owing to Performance?
Hours after Umar was sacked on April 18, he had said that he was removed by Prime Minister Imran Khan because of his “performance” at the post in the last eight months. In an interview with a private news channel where he had shared the reason that led to his dismissal, Umar said he was neither angry nor disappointed at the prime minister over his decision.
To a question if his stint as the finance minister would be deemed a failure, Umar had said he would leave that for time to decide, adding since taking the job, “I’ve worked my socks off, even my family says I’m burn out.” Shaikh was brought in to replace Umar in major cabinet reshuffle in April. When asked the reason given for his ouster, Umar had said: “He [PM Imran] wants a new team to come in and do things.”
During the interview, Umar had said that he turned down taking the reins of the energy ministry because he was never really been in for posts and designations. He had said that he wanted to work in a post that fit his expertise. He had also refuted claims that his future in politics was in jeopardy. “I will continue helping the PTI government whenever needed and serve my constituency.