Islamabad, Pakistan (CU)_ Miftah Ismail, the Finance Minister of Pakistan, announced his intention to formally resign from his position, citing the country’s ongoing economic problems aggravated by disastrous flooding. Taking to Twitter, Ismail stated that he had informed Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif of his intentions during a meeting. He tweeted, “I have verbally resigned as Finance Minister. I will tender a formal resignation upon reaching Pakistan”.
Ismail and Sharif were in London during that time and had returned to Pakistan now. Ismail is the fifth Finance Minister to be changed in less than four years, as Pakistan’s economy has seen chronic volatility, its present account deficit has grown dramatically, and growing inflation has greatly impacted and pressurized households and companies. In addition, the disastrous flood swamped major portions of Pakistan this month, exacerbating the issue. The natural calamity claimed over 1,500 lives and caused approximately $30 billion in damage, fueling worries that Pakistan might be unable to pay its debts.
Ismail, who was repeated by the Prime Minister, guaranteed investors that the country was looking for debt relief from bilateral creditors and highlighted that the government would not expect any debt relief from commercial banks or Eurobond creditors. Ismail also stated that serving as finance minister twice was an honor. However, he did not discuss the purported audio conversations against him. Several audio recordings apparently involving Prime Minister Sharif and his cabinet ministers were leaked on social media only hours before the announcement.
According to media sources, one of the audio clips allegedly plays an interaction about Ismail between Vice President Maryam Nawaz of the ruling party and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. The voice in the conversation is believed to be that of Maryam, where she says, “Miftah Ismail doesn’t know what he is doing”, and wishes the former Finance Minister Ishaq Dar to take up the post. Accordingly, Nawaz Sharif selected his close aide Ishaq Dar to assume responsibility for the ministry when he returned from London with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.