ISLAMABAD: Former finance minister Asad Umar on Tuesday called on Prime Minister Imran Khan and again refused to hold any portfolio in the federal cabinet.
Talking to Dawn, Mr Umar said political and national issues were discussed during the meeting.
When asked if the prime minister insisted he can have any ministry other than finance, Mr Umar said he has a standing offer to hold the ministry he had earlier been offered when he was removed from the finance ministry.
According to reports circulating in media, when Mr Umar was ousted from the finance ministry he was offered the federal ministry for petroleum, but he turned down the offer and decided to serve only as a member of the National Assembly (MNA).
Interestingly, Prime Minister Khan, on the very next day after the removal of his former close confidant from the finance ministry, said in a public meeting in Wana that “he [prime minister] will not accept any one in the cabinet who will not be in the interest of the country”.
It is believed that Mr Umar had resisted the “harsh” conditions imposed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) due to which he was asked to step down on April 18. According to the opposition, following his removal, close aides and ex-officials of IMF were being appointed to key positions in the economic team of the government.
“I have no intention of rejoining [the cabinet],” he replied when asked if he could revisit his decision. “It [Ramazan] is a month of prayers and worship so I will concentrate on it instead of running after a seat in the cabinet,” Mr Umar said on a lighter note.
Asked if he would accept the offer of a ministry after Ramazan, the PTI leader replied in the negative. “One can serve the nation by sitting outside the cabinet also.”
Published in Dawn, May 8th, 2019