Lahore: By stepping down Thursday, the 6 feet-5 inches tall Asad Umar became the fifth Pakistani Finance Minister to relinquish charge during the last 10 years or so, speaking volumes of the fact that putting the ailing Pakistani economy in an apple-pie order has not been a child’s play for any economic wizard in recent times.
But then, these Pakistani Finance Ministers have resigned due to various reasons ranging from accountability fears and disagreements with their bosses running the country to their inability to face criticism of general public and cabinet colleagues etc.
Not long ago, Ishaq Dar had decided to step down from his position of Finance Minister on his own accord and resigned on November 18, 2017.
Dar made the decision to resign from London after the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had requested an accountability court to add his name on the Exit Control List.
A few days earlier, on November 14, 2017, the accountability court had issued non-bailable arrest warrants against Ishaq Dar for the fourth time when he failed to appear before the court.
Dar had dispatched letter of his resignation to the-then Pakistani Prime Minister, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, saying he was hospitalized abroad and hence unable to shoulder his responsibilities.
A corruption case against Ishaq Dar was filed by NAB in light of the Supreme Court’s July 28, 2017 judgment in the Panama Papers case, which had also seen the unceremonious ouster of the-then Premier, Nawaz Sharif.
On February 17, 2013, another of Asad’s predecessors, Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh had tendered his resignation from the post of Federal Finance Minister.
Immediately thereafter, the-then President, Asif Zardari, had administered the oath of the vacant position to one of his trusted Senators, Salim Mandviwalla, who was actually the fifth finance minister during the tenure of the PPP-led coalition.
Mandviwalla had earlier been appointed the Minister for State for Finance – a move many had predicated was the beginning of the end of Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh’s three years as the Finance Minister.
Shaikh had assumed the office on March 18, 2010 after the-then Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin had left office. On February 23, 2010, Shaukat Tarin, had called it quits to raise equity from the market for his Silkbank, which was a clear conflict of interest while working at Finance Ministry.
Renowned banker Shaukat Tarin had served in former Premier Yousaf Raza Gillani’s cabinet from 2009 to 2010. He was appointed on October 7, 2008 as an adviser to the government and was elevated to the post of Finance Minister after being elected to the Senate from Sindh on July 27, 2009.
His name as the next Finance Minister is again been echoed in the power corridors by the way. In October 2008, Syed Naveed Qamar, was shown the door by his party leadership and asked to revert back to his old Privatisation Ministry.
This was the day when Naveed had miserably failed to stop the defiant fertiliser importers and producers from raising prices of Diammonium phosphate from Rs3,150 to Rs5,500 per bag just when the sowing season was about to start.
But before being asked to quit the ministry, Naveed Qamar had managed to get his father, Qamaruzzaman Shah, appointed at the lucrative post of the chairman of Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited.
First, Naveed Qamar was disappointed when Ishaq Dar was given this portfolio as a result of the power-sharing formula between the PPP and the PML-N. But soon luck smiled on him, as he found a good chance of taking the affairs of the Finance Ministry in his hands after Dar had resigned with other party colleagues, following President Asif Zardari’s refusal to honour his word on the issue of restoration of the judiciary in line with his public commitments given in the Murree declaration. That was the PML-N version.