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ISLAMABAD: There is intense speculation in the federal capital as to who will be selected as Pakistan’s next finance minister, the most critical portfolio that would ‘make or break’ the political fortunes of whichever party leads the next government.

Sources on condition of strict anonymity told Business Recorder that the choice is likely to be made with the concurrence of the ubiquitous establishment which has emerged as a major decision maker through its representation in the apex committee of the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) established on 17 June 2023.

When contacted, senior leadership of the PML-N – the party considered the most likely to lead the next government – stated that while the party had proposed the name of Bilal Azhar Kiyani, appointed as coordinator to the Prime Minister on Economy and Energy in July 2022, but caved in to the establishment demand that the portfolio be retained by caretaker finance Minister Shamshad Akhtar.

Sources further revealed that Kiyani is the second PML-N nominee for the portfolio, after Ishaq Dar, that was rejected by the establishment adding that while they could understand opposition to a Dar-led finance ministry given his disastrous performance from 27 September 2022 to August 2023 yet the same could not be said about Kiyani.

Election outcome in Pakistan ‘may complicate’ new IMF deal: Fitch

Another senior official said on condition of anonymity that perhaps, the establishment’s opposition to Kiyani may have stemmed from the distinct possibility of his being pressured into implementing Dar’s economically flawed recommendations while the same could not possibly apply to Shamshad Akhtar.

However, some senior finance ministry officials said on condition of anonymity that Hafeez Shaikh cannot be ruled out as he has been the preferred finance minister of several chiefs of army staff, including Musharraf and Bajwa, and may be resurrected to this position once again.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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Az_Iz Feb 20, 2024 04:58am
Shamshad Akhtar, yes, why not. Ishaq Dar, a big NO.
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Az_Iz Feb 20, 2024 05:00am
Please make Ishaq Dar, minister for sports. Lately things are not well with Pakistan's sports. So there is little left to wreck, any further.
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Az_Iz Feb 20, 2024 05:03am
Ishaq Dar, knows very little about economics. He has a lot of ego. A bad combination for this job.
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Az_Iz Feb 20, 2024 05:06am
The caretaker govt has cleaned up the mess, quite a bit. The exports, remittances, CAD, rupee valuation and stock market have turned in the right direction. Why not continue with Shamshad Akhtar.
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KU Feb 20, 2024 11:50am
Finance minister who will favour party/agenda and play with the fate of country. Meanwhile, ever heard of secretaries of provincial administration briefing a nominated/non-elected chief minister?
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Pakistani1 Feb 20, 2024 01:58pm
Why not Mitah Ismail? He did a good job to stabilize the economy after departure of PTI government.
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Johnny Walker Feb 20, 2024 02:37pm
Ask IMF to send one. That is the only way out.
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Make in Pakistan Feb 20, 2024 03:51pm
There is no shortage of great Pakistani monetary economists. Bring one who is the most competent and who will not report to Mr. D(oll)ar behind the scenes.
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Qasim Feb 20, 2024 04:29pm
I would rather have a monkey as finance minister than ishaq dar.
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Tariq Qurashi Feb 20, 2024 04:53pm
We need someone who can develop and carry our deep seated reforms. Someone who is a good analysist and can think out of the box; and can cut out and simplify excessive red tape.
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Az_Iz Feb 20, 2024 05:54pm
The caretaker govt has shown that, with dedicated efforts, the country can easily stand on it's feet. And if things continue in this direction, it can be on path to growth and prosperity.
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Arif Feb 20, 2024 07:04pm
PDM 2.0 will have Ishaq Dar . If he is not Finance Minister he will make life miserable by constantly interfering, just like he did with Miftah . There is no escape from Dar .
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