Hafeez Shaikh, PM’s advisor on Finance: The Irony of all ironies
BY ALI NAQVI –
It’s hard to keep mum about the recent turn of events. The appointment of Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh as finance advisor by Prime Minister Imran Khan was mind boggling. When Asad Umar stepped down the biggest question was who will replace him. Keeping the vision of PTI “old versus new” in mind it was an uphill task to come up with an individual who could be seen fit to lead the country into “naya Pakistan”. But Hafeez Shaikh…!
Apparently there is nothing wrong with Hafeez Shaikh, because he is now PTI appointee. But in the past he has served as finance minister at both federal and provincial level in the governments of Pakistan Peoples Party. PPP has been repeatedly alleged by PTI as one of the most corrupt party in the country. If Hafeez Shaikh is the right choice now, then he must have been appointed on merit by the PPP. But if he worked for a corrupt party and ruined the economy, then his recent appointment is surely a step back in time. It’s for the people of Pakistan to decide which premise is right.
The first public statement issued by the Finance Advisor stated that talks will be speeded up with International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a bailout package. Was this the task that Asad Umar was reluctant to do? It seems we need someone in the finance ministry who could be constantly in touch with IMF to keep the economy breathing. But his major challenge would be to plan for the upcoming budget.
It is a very critical time for PTI government. The party think tank needs to think out of the box to help government deal with crisis. There is no silver lining on the horizon yet. Is the government running out of options or is it the climax of all the empty slogans.
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