Ishaq Dar back in Pakistan after five years

Murtaza Ali Shah
Monday, Sep 26, 2022

LONDON: Former Finance Minister Ishaq Dar will return to Pakistan along with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in his plane today – after five years of self-imposed exile in London –to “facilitate” Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s efforts to resurrect the cash-strapped economy by taking over the key portfolio of Finance Ministry.

The top PML-N huddle headed by party supremo Nawaz Sharif decided on Sunday here that Ishaq Dar will fly out with Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Monday morning from Luton airport.

Geo News had exclusively revealed on Saturday that Ishaq Dar is set to take oath as Pakistan’s next Finance Minister, replacing Miftah Ismail, the current Finance Minister.

Immediately after, Geo News aired news on Sunday that Ishaq Dar will be travelling to Pakistan with PM Shahbaz Sharif, Miftah Ismail tendered his resignation paving way for Ishaq Dar to take change of Pakistan’s faltering economy at a time when inflation is touching new peaks and overall state of the economy is in a mess.

Ishaq Dar had previously booked a return ticket for Wednesday.

Miftah Ismail will remain part of the government’s economic team while Ishaq Dar will assume charge as the coalition government’s new finance minister.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif reached London on Saturday to meet his brother and PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif to discuss the ongoing political situation of the country as well as the economic matters.

Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah confirmed the return of Dar, who has been Pakistan’s finance minister four times, speaking to Geo News on Friday.

“Ishaq Dar is coming back to facilitate Prime Minister Shehbaz on economic affairs,” the interior minister said.

Ishaq Dar came to London in October 2017 and has remained here since then. He has maintained that he was targeted by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), set up by former chief justice Saqib Nisar, in fake cases made in order to oust the PMLN from power when it was in power the last time.

The development marks a big turnaround of fortunes for the former Finance Minister whose stint in politics and governance looked doomed just five years back when the former Chief Justice Saqib Nisar-led JIT went full throttle against Dar, including kidnapping of one of his staff members as a huge operation was set in place to oust him from the finance ministry, forcing him to seek sanctuary abroad in London.

Ishaq Dar became a key aide to Nawaz Sharif after the former PM reached London at the end of 2019 for his medical treatment. Dar spent time almost daily with Nawaz Sharif, advising him on key issues. He played a leading role during the preparations of no-confidence voting and was the main point of contact for PDM leaders from London. He took part in almost every meeting Nawaz Sharif held here and had a say in every decision Nawaz Sharif made from London.

Ishaq Dar has been banned from appearing on Pakistani media throughout under the PTI government. He took to social media to air his views on economy and politics.

Nawaz Sharif has not been happy with Miftah Ismail after Mr Ismail increased prices of commodities.