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ISLAMABAD: Rana Afzal, the parliamentary secretary for finance, is set to fill the vacant slot of finance minister as Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi approved his appoi­ntment as minister of state on Friday.

Talking to Dawn, Mr Afzal said the prime minister had approved his appointment as minister of state for finance and the Cabinet Division would issue a notification in this regard next week after which he would take the oath.

Mr Afzal, an MNA from Faisalabad (NA-82), was not only the parliamentary secretary for finance but was also busy filling in the gap created after then finance minister Ishaq Dar requested Mr Abbasi for leave due to health issues.

Currently, Senator Dar is in London for medical treatment for heart-related problems but is facing a corruption trial at home where an accountability court has declared him an absconder.

The key slot of finance minister has been vacant for almost a month and there was strong pressure on the government — not only from the stakeholders, including the business community, but also the Senate Standing Committee on Finance as well as the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Finance — to appoint a finance minister.

Born in Faisalabad, the MNA received his early education in Dhaka. He went on to become an electrical engineer from NED university and completed his Masters in political science from Quetta. He was also commissioned in the Pakistan Army and served as a captain from 1971 to 1976.

Published in Dawn, December 23rd, 2017