Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) senior leader Ishaq Dar on Wednesday was sworn in as the new finance minister following his return to the country.
The oath was administered by President Dr Arif Alvi at the Aiwan-i-Sadr. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, among others, were present at the oath-taking ceremony.
During the ceremony, Dar swore, “to bear true faith and allegiance to Pakistan, discharge its duties honestly to the best of ability and faithfully in accordance with the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the law”.
“I will strive to preserve the Islamic Ideology which is the basis for the creation of Pakistan. That I will not allow my personal interest to influence my official conduct or my official decisions,” said the new minister while reading the text of the official oath.
The move came after former finance minister Miftah Ismail stepped down from his post to make way for the PML-N senator.
The decision to appoint Dar as the new financial czar was made following an important party meeting held under the chairmanship of party supremo and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in London.
Dar wows to tame inflation
Ishaq Dar, will work to rein in inflation and cut interest rates, he told reporters in televised comments made after he was sworn in, calling the rupee currency undervalued and promising a strong response to resolve Pakistan’s worst economic crisis.
In his fourth tie in the role, the chartered accountant must tackle a balance of payment crisis, foreign reserves that cover barely a month's imports, historic lows in the rupee, inflation exceeding 27% and the aftermath of devastating floods.
“We will control inflation," the PML-N senior leader said, referring to the deep-rooted challenges ahead. "We will bring interest rates down."
He had a warning for currency market speculators, saying that the Pakistani rupee was undervalued.
"Our currency right now is not at the place where it should be, it is undervalued," said Dar, who is known to favour currency market intervention to keep the rupee stable.
“I hope the speculators will stop. I think they have already got it and we are seeing the rupee rising," he added. "No one will be allowed to play with the Pakistani currency."
A member of parliament's upper house, Dar got the job after his predecessor, Miftah Ismail became the fifth to quit in less than four years, amid persistent economic turbulence.
The rupee has been gaining firmly ahead of his appointment and stocks responded positively before Wednesday's swearing-in.
Sworn in as Senator
Ishaq Dar on Tuesday was sworn in as a senator amid the hue and cry raised by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lawmakers.
Dar, who returned to Pakistan earlier in the day after spending almost five years in the UK on a ‘medical leave’, was administered the oath of his office by Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani.
The PML-N leader had left the country in 2017 while standing trial in a corruption reference.
As he entered the Senate hall, PML-N leaders welcomed him by thumping their desks.
However, while he was being administered his oath of office, PTI senators shouted slogans including “absconder” and surrounded the chairman’s rostrum.
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