PML-N leader Ishaq Dar returns to Pakistan after five years in self-exile

Published September 26, 2022
<p>PML-N leader Ishaq Dar arrives in Pakistan on Monday night. — Photo by PM’s Office</p>

PML-N leader Ishaq Dar arrives in Pakistan on Monday night. — Photo by PM’s Office

<p>PML-N leader Ishaq Dar landed in Pakistan on Monday. — DawnNewsTV</p>

PML-N leader Ishaq Dar landed in Pakistan on Monday. — DawnNewsTV

After a self-exile of nearly five years and several speculations, senior PML-N leader and 'finance wizard' Ishaq Dar returned to Pakistan on Monday night.

The former minister landed at the Nur Khan Airbase in Chaklala, Rawalpindi. He accompanied Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on his trip back to the country from London.

Talking to reporters at the airbase, Dar said that PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif and the premier had tasked him with the finance portfolio.

"I will try my best to fulfill all the responsibilities. We will try to take out the country from the economic swamp it is stuck in [...] the way we did in 1998-1999 and 2013-2014."

Dar expressed hope that "we will now head in a positive direction".

Dar's return had been under speculation for months with certain top members of the PML-N — like Maryam Nawaz and Javed Latif — on several occasions publicly attacking and disowning former finance minister Miftah Ismail's policies, in particular, the inevitable reversal of the costly fuel subsidy introduced by the previous PTI government.

Dar had also overtly challenged Ismail and undermined his decision-making over the past months.

Last week, an accountability court had suspended an outstanding arrest warrant against Dar, paving the way for the former finance minister’s return from London.

Accountability Court Judge Mohammad Bashir issued a suspension order for a perpetual warrant of arrest against Dar, which was issued on December 11, 2017, after he absconded from an assets-beyond-means case. The warrants were suspended until October 7, giving the senator-elect a fortnight to surrender to the law.

The court’s decision gave credence to speculation that Dar was returning to the country to take over as finance minister from the beleaguered Miftah Ismail.

However, the confirmation came earlier today when Miftah tendered his resignation to senior party leaders in London. Subsequently, a statement was released by PML-N confirming that Nawaz Sharif and PM Shehbaz had nominated Dar as the finance minister.

A source quoted Nawaz as telling the participants that the party has “lost political capital” and that Dar should work to regain it.

Dar will also now be expected by his party to conjure up fiscal space for the government to start spending ahead of the next elections. His questionable exchange rate policy during his last tenure is widely seen as a key reason why Pakistan had to return for yet another bailout programme to the International Monetary Fund.

Opinion

Editorial

Breaking the deadlock
09 Dec, 2022

Breaking the deadlock

It is time for PDM and PTI to show flexibility and realise that the future of over 240m people is at stake.
A targeted killing
09 Dec, 2022

A targeted killing

IF there were any doubts about a sinister, transnational plot to kill journalist Arshad Sharif, the 592-page report...
Dog-bite epidemic
09 Dec, 2022

Dog-bite epidemic

AN exploding population of stray canines has fuelled a dog-bite epidemic in Sindh, with the provincial health...
Worsening hunger
Updated 08 Dec, 2022

Worsening hunger

THAT the dollar liquidity crunch has started hurting the import of essential items such as vegetables and raw...
Bannu beheading
Updated 08 Dec, 2022

Bannu beheading

The state must take up the cudgels and neutralise barbarism before it spreads.
Smog misery
08 Dec, 2022

Smog misery

IF 2022 has taught us anything, it is that generations of reckless disregard for Mother Nature has accrued very ...