ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Finance Minister Miftah Ismail has stepped down in the middle of a trip abroad amid a serious economic crisis that the country faces following the devastating floods.
The decision to change ranks in the top cabinet position came after a vital PML-N meeting was held in London on Sunday under the chairmanship of party supremo Nawaz Sharif, The Express Tribune reported.
Pakistan media reports said Ismail is being replaced by a senior PML-N leader Ishaq Dar as the cash-strapped country's new financial czar.
"In a meeting with Mian Nawaz Sharif and PM Shehbaz Sharif today, I have verbally resigned as Finance Minister. I will tender a formal resignation upon reaching Pakistan. It's been an honour to serve twice as Finance Minister. Pakistan Paindabad," Ismail tweeted Sunday night.
The resignation of Ismail comes after continued speculation that former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was unhappy with some of his key decisions, including the hike in fuel prices.
The Express Tribune reported that this move is aimed to regain its lost political clout right ahead of the next general elections. Dar, the senator-elect, is likely to take oath as the finance minister as early as Tuesday.
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The leaders who attended the key London meeting were Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, and outgoing finance minister Miftah Ismail. Other party leaders including Ishaq Dar and Malik Muhammad Ahmad Khan also attended this meeting.
The government leaders did not fall short of blaming former PM Imran Khan-led PTI for bringing the country's economy to ruins. The participants said that the incumbent government had to "put out the fire of economic disaster" caused by the previous PTI-led regime.
It is pertinent to mention here that the former finance minister left Pakistan four years back and is wanted in Pakistan in multiple cases.
Earlier this week, an accountability court suspended an outstanding arrest warrant against Dar, paving the way for the former finance minister's return from London, where he has been living in 'self-exile' for the past five years or so.
The two main targets given to Dar are to bring down inflation and decrease the dollar-rupee parity, The Express Tribune reported citing a source close to the Sharif family. Dar would draw on his vast experience from his previous stints and try to bring market forces under control, the source added.