Ishaq Dar took oath as a federal minister

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ISLAMABAD: Ishaq Dar took oath as a federal minister on Wednesday, a day after he was sworn in as a senator. President Dr Arif Alvi administered the oath to Dar during a ceremony at the Aiwan-i-Sadr, which was also attended by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

Dar was nominated by PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif and PM Shehbaz as the finance minister during a meeting on Sunday. An official notification in this regard is expected to be issued soon.

Dar landed at the Nur Khan Airbase in Rawalpindi on Monday night alongside PM Shehbaz to take charge of the finance portfolio, which he has previously held on three occasions.

The PML-N leader had been in self-exile for nearly five years.

Talking to reporters at the airbase, he said: “I will try my best to fulfil all the responsibilities. We will try to take the country out of the economic swamp it is stuck in the way we did in 1998-1999 and 2013-2014.”

On Tuesday, his predecessor Miftah Ismail formally resigned to pave way for Dar. The new finance minister’s appointment comes after months of speculations that Dar and Nawaz had been unhappy with some of Ismail’s key decisions, specifically with regard to the fuel price hike.

Last month, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz said she did not agree with the decision to hike petrol and electricity prices, saying she did not own such decisions, whether her party was in government or not.

The speculations about the internal rift in the party and the senior leadership’s desire to replace Ismail were confirmed after a slew of audio recordings, purportedly of conversations between the prime minister and key PML-N figures, were leaked over the weekend.

One of them features a conversation between Maryam and PM Shehbaz about Ismail.

“He doesn’t take responsibility, says strange things on TV for which people make fun of him, he doesn’t know what he is doing,” the voice said to be Maryam’s says in the clip.

“He clearly cut corners,” the voice said to be PM Shehbaz’s is heard as saying.

“Uncle, he doesn’t know what he is doing,” Maryam purportedly says, as she wishes for Dar’s return.

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