But how ironic it is that Asad Umar who lost finance portfolio for opposing the IMF programme or its harsh conditionalities is still part of ‘Kaptaan’s’ team while Hafeez Sheikh, who successfully brokered an IMF-Pakistan deal to help the country overcome its massive balance of payment (BoP) crisis, is shown the door. The government has indicated that Sheikh owes his removal to his failure to control rising food inflation or price hike. Little does the government spokespersons know that the job of a finance minister, who heads country’s economic policymaking body, the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet, is far above the areas of inflation and price stability; these are essentially a central bank’s domains. Weeks before he was unceremoniously removed Sheikh had indeed worked harder to ensure, among other things, the release of $500 million stalled IMF tranche and launched a three-tranche Eurobond deal to raise $2.5 billion for the country. The prime minister’s action against Sheikh therefore gives birth to some legitimate doubts about his and other PTI MNAs’ sincerity of purpose insofar as the election for Senate’s Islamabad seat is concerned.
Sohail Rajpar (Karachi)
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021