Tarin appointed adviser to PM on finance, revenue after constitutional tenure as federal minister ends

Published October 18, 2021
This file photo shows Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin speaking in the National Assembly. — Photo courtesy NA Twitter
This file photo shows Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin speaking in the National Assembly. — Photo courtesy NA Twitter

The government issued a notification on Monday appointing Shaukat Tarin, formerly the finance minister, as adviser to the prime minister on finance and revenue.

The notification, issued by the Cabinet Division stated: "The president, on the advice of the prime minister, has been pleased to appoint, with immediate effect, Shaukat Fayyaz Ahmed Tarin as Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue, with the status of federal minister."

Tarin was appointed as the finance minister on April 17 and his constitutional tenure ended on Oct 16. He needed to be elected to parliament in order to continue in his post for longer than six months after his appointment.

Tarin is the fourth adviser to the prime minister after Mirza Shahzad Akbar, Abdul Razak Dawood and Babar Awan.

The government had earlier decided to get Tarin elected as a senator from Punjab or Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to ensure continuity and stability in markets.

Highly placed sources had told Dawn the government would announce its plan for election of Tarin from Punjab against Senator Ishaq Dar's seat, which has virtually remained vacant in the absence of the PML-N's former finance minister. Dar has not taken oath because of his self-exile in the UK.

The sources had said the first priority was to get him elected on Dar's seat, but a plan-B was also in place to get a Senate seat vacated from KP for his election because of some uncertainties. The senator vacating the seat from KP would be compensated through some other political adjustment.

They said that Tarin's election on Dar's seat could have uncertainties as it could be challenged in courts and stayed.

The sources, however, explained that even if the election process took some time, it would not matter as Tarin would be made an adviser for five days and then sworn in as senator and finance minister as well.

Tarin, who also held the finance ministry in the PPP government, was the fourth finance minister appointed by Prime Minister Imran Khan after Asad Umar, Hafeez Shaikh and Hammad Azhar had been given the portfolio.

At the time, the prime minister had said Tarin's appointment was aimed at controlling inflation and increasing the economic growth rate.

As an adviser to the PM, Tarin will not be able to chair meetings of cabinet committees, as per an Islamabad High Court (IHC) judgement.

Last year, the IHC had ruled that unelected advisers and special assistants could not head government committees.

As finance minister, Tarin was chairman of the Economic Coordination Committee, Cabinet Committee on Privatisation, Cabinet Committee on State-owned Enterprises and Executive Committee of National Economic Council.

Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar is the chairman of the Cabinet Committee on Energy and Cabinet Committee on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, Law Minister Farogh Naseem heads the Cabinet Committee for Disposal of Legislative Cases, Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood is the chairman of the Cabinet Committee on Institutional Reforms and Shipping and Maritime Affairs Minister Ali Zaidi is chairman of the Cabinet Committee on Transport and Logistics.

Country heading towards economic disaster, says Mandviwala

Meanwhile, PPP Senator Saleem Mandviwala railed against the dollar surge, saying that the country was heading towards an "economic disaster" due to the "government's incompetence".

He said the dollar's persistent rise was a result of the government's negotiations with the IMF. "The continuous increase in the dollar's value is a very troubling process," the senator added.

"The IMF's demand for further depreciation of the rupee is likely to push up the value of the dollar. Inflation will rise further if the government does not stop the rising value of the dollar."

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