BY ALI NAQVI –
It was on the cards. Speculations were rife that heads might role in the wake of failing economy and rising inflation. But who could actually fathom the idea that Asad Umar, the strongest pillar of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the one who was supposed to deliver even if the rest of the party collapsed, will resign. But he did. His resignation has shocked the PTI supporters and jolted the foundations of the government.
He announced his resignation in a tweet saying “as part of a cabinet reshuffle PM desired that I take the energy sector minister portfolio instead of finance. However, I have obtained his consent to not take any cabinet position. I strongly believe Imran Khan is the best hope for Pakistan and inshallah will make a Naya Pakistan”. He also addressed a news conference to clarify his position. But whatever he says, his resignation is a sort of confession of his failure as a Finance Minister and the government’s inability to come up with a strategic roadmap for the revival of the economy.
Soon after he was sworn in as Minister, Asad Umar came under heavy media attention regarding the rehabilitation of the economy. His stance before the elections regarding petroleum prices was that there were unnecessary taxes on petroleum products and that the prices should be at least cut to half; but he later back-tracked on his words. His government’s decision to knock at the door of the IMF was also seen as an early defeat of the PTI on the economic front.
In response to a question he defended his performance saying “Who says that I have failed in achieving what I wanted to achieve? I left my job to join the party when we weren’t even in the parliament, let alone in the opposition. Look at how far we have come from that. I am not letting PTI go, I truly believe that ‘Naya Pakistan‘ will become a reality”.
He also said that it was not a decision made to protest. He said that he wanted to serve the party freely and without wanting anything in return. He also clarified that amnesty scheme has nothing to do with his resignation. Has he resigned because of performance?
This is just one aspect in the bigger scheme of things. The entire cabinet reshuffle will bring new surprises creating fresh problems for the captain in-charge of the team. One feels a little sad to witness a mature and most respected politician quitting his job in less than a year in office. It remains to be seen who comes up to be better than Asad Umar.