Finance Minister Miftah Ismail on Monday said that the mooted return of senior PML-N leader Ishaq Dar to the country would not bother him and he would be happy to relinquish his position if the party leadership asked him to do so.
Speaking in the Dawn News show 'Live with Adil Shahzeb', Ismail was questioned on circulating rumours of Dar's return to lead the Finance Ministry. To this, Miftah said: "I feel nothing about it. Dar sahab can come if he wants to. He is our elder and already a part of the economic team."
Miftah said that whatever economic decisions were taken, including the hiking of fuel prices, were taken following consultations with Dar and others, even if Dar did not agree with the final decision. "What's the harm if Dar sahab comes here (Finance Ministry) as well."
Ismail added that Dar was also involved in interviewing the State Bank governor.
The finance minister said he was appointed by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif after consultation with PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif. "It is my job to make difficult decisions because I have to protect my country's state and economy but I seriously have no issue with whether the ministry remains [with me] or not," he said.
He said he did not regret any decision taken so far and made the choice to increase fuel prices "gladly" since he thought it to be in the country's interest. "If anyone has campaigned the most in our government for these decisions then it is me. It's not hidden that I said since the first day that petrol prices [should be increased]."
He said the PML-N worked together as a team and in coordination with its "generous and wonderful" partners and if the prime minister wanted to make any change then "there is nothing wrong with it."
However, when asked that if Dar were to become the finance minister, would he be open to taking the role of state minister for finance, he said: "This, of course, won't happen. I won't become the state minister after being the federal minister."
Recently, speculation has been rife over Dar's possible return.
The former finance minister and senator-elect, who is currently in London, is being tipped to return to the Ministry of Finance to shore up the government’s economic team.
Sources told Dawn that Dar’s return to Pakistan is “highly likely” by the third week of July.
“Nawaz Sharif is adamant that Dar should return, since the country's economic situation is hitting our credibility,” an insider told Dawn. The source said it was likely Dar would return to Pakistan sometime in July.
There was no official word from the PML-N on the matter, and Dar did not respond to requests for comment.