ISLAMABAD: Miftah Ismail was appointed federal minister for Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs hours before the budget unveiling speech, which he delivered himself amid ruckus in the National Assembly of Pakistan. The opposition lodged strong protests against Ismail’s appointment during his budget speech because he is not an elected member of parliament.
Few outside the financial milieu of the country are aware of who the incumbent finance minister actually is and where he came from.
Miftah Ismail graduated from Adamjee Science College, Karachi before moving abroad to pursue a Bachelors of Science degree in Mathematics and Economics from Duquesne University, USA. Ismail then obtained a PhD in political economy and public finance from the acclaimed Ivy League; University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Business School.
While in Washington, the minister worked as an economist for the International Monetary Fund from August 1992 to May 1993. Miftah Ismail along with his brothers Muhammad and Maqsood used their inherited shares from Union Biscuits Private Limited and founded Ismail Industries Limited. Miftah reportedly owns at least 30pc of the stock in Ismail Industries Limited, which is valued at almost USD 65million. He served as the chief operating officer and executive director of the company as well.
The newly appointed minister has also served on the boards of the Karachi American School, Astro Plastics Private Limited, Del Mare Foods Private Limited and Ismail Iqbal Commodities Private Limited.
Ismail’s most acclaimed employment opportunities came after 2012, when in January 2012 he was appointed as the vice chairman of Punjab Board of Investment and Trade (PBIT) and served in that capacity until December 2012. Later, he was made a non-executive director in the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and served from October 2013 till June 2014. He also served as chairman of the Sui Sothern Gas Company, a post that he was given in October 2013.
Finance minister Miftah Ismail is reported to have joined the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in 2011. He was part of the PML-N’s manifesto committee and the election strategy team. In 2014, he was made chairman of the Federal Board of Investment (BOI) and became a junior minister in Nawaz Sharif’s cabinet. Ismail also had a brief stint as chairman of the privatization commission. Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi appointed Miftah Ismail as the PM’s advisor on finance in December 2017.
Miftah Ismail also represents Pakistan as a governor in the International Bank of Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), International Finance Corporation (IFC) and International Development Association (IDA).
Miftah Ismail has also served as the Pakistan Table Tennis Federation’s (Pakistan Table Tennis Federation) general secretary.