IMF distances itself from Ishaq Dar's 'Finance Minister of the Year' award

Published: October 14, 2016
Magazine not linked to IMF, says mission chief. PHOTO: WIKIPEDIA

Magazine not linked to IMF, says mission chief. PHOTO: WIKIPEDIA

ISLAMABAD: The Emerging Markets newspaper does not belong to International Monetary Fund, said Harald Finger, the IMF’s Mission Chief to Pakistan on Thursday amid new revelations that five state-owned firms partially funded the publication’s latest edition.

Last week, the newspaper conferred Best Finance Minister of South Asia Award to Ishaq Dar and Best country in South Asia in infrastructure development to Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal. Government functionaries jumped to congratulate them for winning such a ‘prestigious’ award.

Ishaq Dar declared ‘finance minister of the year’

The ministries of finance and planning and development had claimed that the Emerging Markets is a World Bank and IMF publication and that it was a matter of honour for the country that the publication bestowed these awards to Pakistani political personalities.

“Emerging Markets is an independent publication,” said Harald Finger, the Washington-based chief of the IMF mission for Pakistan, while addressing a press conference from Washington through a video-link. He was responding to a question about whether he congratulated Finance Minister Dar on winning IMF/WB Best South Asia Minister award.

“The IMF is not involved with the Emerging Markets publication,” said Wafa Amr, IMF’s Washington-based media contact person for Pakistan, who was also present at the occasion.

After the finance and planning ministries boasted about their achievements, the country’s top dignitaries rushed to congratulate them for winning the IMF/WB award. Even Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif congratulated Dar for winning the award. “K-P Governor Iqbal Zafar, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and AJK Prime Minister Raja Farooq Hider congratulated the finance minister for achieving the Finance Minister of 2016 for South Asia award,” a finance ministry handout read.

Planning ministry’s claims

The planning ministry not only declared Emerging Markets as a WB/IMF publication but also exaggerated the paper’s standing by claiming that it was an ‘international institution’. “Emerging Markets, which is an international institution, has declared Pakistan the best infrastructure development country in South Asia,” the ministry said. It added that Emerging Markets had invited the Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal to receive the award in Washington.

Ishaq Dar comes to the defence of FBR chief


The latest edition of the magazine shows that five Pakistani state-owned enterprises funded the Emerging Markets edition that carried a supplement on Pakistan. It is a United Kingdom-based publication and is a subsidiary of Euromoney Trading Limited/Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.

However, the management of the newspaper denies that there was a link between the funding and awards.

National Bank of Pakistan (NBP), State Life Insurance Corporation of Pakistan, Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL), National Insurance Corporation Limited (NICL) and Pak-Arab Refinery Company (PARCO) gave advertisements to the paper last month.

Finance minister of the year

The NBP spokesman insisted that the bank gave the advertisement due to its prestigious global standing. He refused to disclose the cost of advertisement and maintained that nobody from the government pressured the bank to give the advertisement.

The response of the representative of the State Life Insurance Corporation was awaited till the filing of the story. Contacts with the ZTBL could not be established despite repeated attempts.

Newspaper version

“The Pakistan supplement, along with other supplements in the newspaper like Palestine, Vietnam and Argentina are sponsored content,” said Sara Posnasky, the magazine’s head of operations while responding to questions through email.  She did not disclose the amount of funding.

“Our awards are entirely independent of all sponsored content and advertisements,” said Posnasky. She said that Emerging Markets has produced 60,000 copies over this year, which suggests that it is not a widely published magazine.

To another question, Posnasky said an editorial committee, chaired by editor Toby Fildes, decides the awards. She promised that Toby would provide more details about selection criteria. However, Toby did not reply till the filing of the story.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 14th, 2016.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (26)

  • Sleepless
    Oct 14, 2016 - 9:16AM

    Old shenanigans of PML-NRecommend

  • Atif Hussain
    Oct 14, 2016 - 11:01AM

    LOL… The best finance minister.Recommend

  • Parvez
    Oct 14, 2016 - 12:33PM

    Is anybody surprised ? Recommend

  • Jokers
    Oct 14, 2016 - 12:37PM

    ROFL really guys ” Best Finance Minister of South Asia Award to Ishaq Dar and Best country in South Asia in infrastructure development to Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal” you guys(read PMLN) worst Indian National CongressRecommend

  • Jameel ur Rehman
    Oct 14, 2016 - 12:45PM

    Ishaq Dar has disgraced the profession he belongs to by telling lie after lie on economic matters of this hapless country. The awards these ministers are flaunting are not worth the piece of paper they are printed on. I am a very humble citizen of this country but my name appeared on World Who is Who a few years back.Recommend

  • Haseeb Khan
    Oct 14, 2016 - 1:09PM

    Very embarrassing!.Really was it worth it?

    Just like tax collection figures given by FBR,total falsehood.Recommend

  • Graceful
    Oct 14, 2016 - 1:36PM

    Mr. Dar is expert of changing numbers. He can mislead nation through local media moguls but it can not be done through engagements of international media. Any one who was receiving BIG CONGRATULATIONS must be ashamed of himself being fooled himself. Recommend

  • javed Ali
    Oct 14, 2016 - 1:52PM

    Politicizing even an international magazine. Good job Pmln.Recommend

  • Naresh
    Oct 14, 2016 - 2:16PM

    Par for the course!

  • salman
    Oct 14, 2016 - 2:47PM

    Guys come on. Award is award, fake or real :) Recommend

  • Muneeb
    Oct 14, 2016 - 2:59PM

    Their delegation to Pakistan actually held a press conference yesterday to disown the award as the award has no relationship with the IMF whats so ever.

    How low can these people go to make themselves look good?Recommend

  • Feroz
    Oct 14, 2016 - 3:06PM

    As valuable as the Axact degree.Recommend

  • Talha
    Oct 14, 2016 - 3:42PM

    I support PMLN but I condemn this act. Shame on you darRecommend

  • Gaz
    Oct 14, 2016 - 3:57PM

    Feel sorry for PML-N they have no idea how to handle the Information Age their every lie is exposed within minutes if not hours.Recommend

  • Libra
    Oct 14, 2016 - 4:18PM

    Best turned worst again.Recommend

  • SB
    Oct 14, 2016 - 4:50PM

    @Feroz: . Your understanding is right. thanksRecommend

  • ajeet
    Oct 14, 2016 - 5:20PM

    Thank you Jinnah for Pakistan Recommend

  • Kickass
    Oct 14, 2016 - 6:47PM

    IMF has shown the reaction as if Munshi was a bad woman.Recommend

  • Shoaib
    Oct 14, 2016 - 7:01PM

    @ajeet: please refrain yourself from taking his name, or otherwise call him Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah (Father of the Nation) Recommend

  • S Hashmi
    Oct 14, 2016 - 8:14PM


    Yes, thank you very much Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah for giving us a country. No matter what conditions we are in, we’re still thankful to him. Nothing could be worse than living in slavery.Recommend

  • ajeet
    Oct 15, 2016 - 2:53AM

    Nope, just Jinnah will do for me.Recommend

  • ahsan
    Oct 15, 2016 - 7:03AM

    Next week, the newspaper will confer “Most honest and straightforward politician” Award to Donald J Trump.Recommend

  • S.R.H. Hashmi
    Oct 15, 2016 - 8:27AM

    The story reminds me of a similar occurrence while I was working in a chemical company in Africa decades back. The company had just been offered a ‘Best Company of the Year Award’ without soliciting for it. While the company was indeed a good performer and quite a profitable one, still, the Award seemed to be a bit far-fetched. And rather jokingly, the General Manager asked us if we had an idea how we got selected for the prestigious( sounding) Award. And the Chemical Engineer of the company expressed his honest opinion that perhaps all others in the field had refused to accept the award, and he was not far out And as it turned out, it was a racket not much different from the one described in the present story, and the company was required to cough a lot of money to receive that award.

    It is surprising how our leaders exploit us physically, financially and even emotionally


  • Dervaish Khan
    Oct 15, 2016 - 10:39AM

    @S Hashmi:
    We weren’t the slaves of the country we separated from. In fact muslims were the ruling elite of India before Britain occupied it. Correct yourself.Recommend

  • Dervaish Khan
    Oct 15, 2016 - 10:40AM

    @S Hashmi:
    We weren’t the slaves of the country we separated from. In fact muslims were the ruling elite of India before Britain occupied it. Correct yourself.Recommend

  • A Peshawary
    Oct 15, 2016 - 11:08PM

    No! This is at what the PML leadership is good.
    A PeshawaryRecommend

More in Pakistan