ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi Wednesday approved the leave request of Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.
Dar in a letter to Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had requested a leave of absence, saying I wish “relief for now from looking after the three divisions” of the Finance Ministry.
Dar, who has been in a hospital in London for over a month now, requested the premier on Wednesday for a leave owing to his ailing health. He has been attending the clinic for treatment three times a week and has also spent a week in the hospital.
According to a local media outlet, Dar first spoke to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and took him into confidence before writing the letter to PM Abbasi. After which, Nawaz advised him that in current circumstances it was best to let PM Abbasi run economic affairs of the country through an advisory committee of experts. The PM approved the summary letter by Dar Wednesday evening.
Media reports further said PM Abbasi was aware that Dar had requested to step aside from his role in view of his health, adding that Ishaq Dar provided excellent leadership to Pakistan’s economy and helped turn around the country, a point on which cabinet stood together.
Refuting the reports of Dar being clingy to the post, the media outlet quoted a source as saying that the finance minister had never had any issues with unanimous decisions of his party colleagues and leaders of the party.
Regarding the finance minister’s continuous absences from the court, it stated that Ishaq Dar always respected the courts of the country and would appear before the courts when and if doctors would allow him to travel. Earlier, an accountability court in Islamabad had declared Ishaq Dar a proclaimed offender, rejecting his plea for exemption from appearance. Things got worse for Dar last week, when National Accountability Bureau (NAB) announced to reinvestigate him in the Hudaibiya Paper Mills case, in compliance with a Supreme Court’s verdict.
In the aftermath of apex court’s July 28 Panamagate judgement, the court directed the anti-graft body to file three references against the Sharif family, along with one reference against Ishaq Dar on the pretext of having assets beyond income. However, Dar on various forums had denied any wrongdoing, saying the cases against him were politically motivated and aimed at victimisation of the Sharifs and himself.