IMF was behind Asad Umar’s sacking, says Khursheed Shah


–Says Reza Baqir was used as a middleman to convey IMF’s message to government

–Urges authorities to resolve issues with PTM through dialogue ‘before it’s too late’

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) senior leader and former leader of the opposition in the National Assembly (NA) Syed Khursheed Shah on Sunday said that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was behind former finance minister Asad Umar’s sacking.

In a video statement issued on Sunday, the PPP leader said that the international lender had used Reza Baqir, an economist attached with IMF, to convey their reservations about Asad Umar’s performance to the government.

It is worth mentioning here that Baqir had been appointed as the governor of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Saturday, replacing Tariq Bajwa.

“According to my information, Reza Baqir – since he was with the IMF in Egypt – was used in the move to sack Umar. Through him, messages were conveyed that the IMF was not happy with Umar,” Shah said.

Shah added that the IMF representatives thought Asad Umar was ill-prepared at times or simply did not know enough, and there would be no breakthrough in negotiations if he was not removed.

Talking about new appointments in SBP and the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), Shah said that it was the prerogative of the new finance minister, Hafeez Shaikh, to put together his own team. “However, it seems the government is bent on placing an economic burden on the masses. Instead of widening the tax base and increasing revenue collection, the PTI-led government wants to use the poor to fill up the country’s coffers,” he added.

Shah also talked about the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa and Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General (DG) Major General Asif Ghafoor’s recent remarks regarding the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM). He appreciated the fact that the army chief himself about the issue, adding that space should be provided for raising questions. “It is not too late to resolve issues through dialogue because soon it will be too late. We saw what happened in East Pakistan,” Shah concluded.