Former finance minister Miftah Ismail on Thursday held his successor Ishaq Dar responsible for the current economic mess, claiming the country suffered a “huge loss” due to his reluctance in approaching the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
“Dar sahab had initially thought that he could either run the affairs without IMF or that a different agreement could be reached by threatening the IMF,” he said while speaking to local TV channel.
The former finance minister said that all experts knew that Dar’s approach was bound to fail. “He tried but [his policies] caused immense damage to the country. Now, the result is in front of us,” he said.
Addressing a seminar at the IBA Karachi later in the day, Miftah also accused the finance minister of running propaganda against him through different TV programmes.
Speaking about reports that the economy was on the verge of collapse, Miftah said delay in the revival of the IMF programme increased the default risk.
“It cannot be said that Pakistan will not default,” he said.
Opposing Dar’s policy to artificially control the rupee value, Miftah called it “madness” to control the rupee-dollar exchange rate through administrative measures.
“Instead of depreciating the value of the dollar against the rupee, there is a need to increase exports.”
He said that a rational approach should be adopted to stabilise the local currency against the greenback.
“The dollars that were sent abroad will be brought back. Remittances will also increase. The hoarding of dollars and the black market will be eliminated as well,” he said while referring to the government’s decision to end control over the rupee-dollar exchange rate as part of an IMF condition.
The rupee had remained under government control since Ishaq Dar took charge as the finance minister in late September last year. At that time, Dar had said that the fair value of the rupee stands in the range of Rs180 to Rs200 per USD.
Earlier today, the Pakistani currency nosedived by Rs24.11 (or 9.45%) to an all-time low at Rs255 against the USD in the interbank market. The local currency had closed at Rs230.89 against the greenback a day earlier.
Financial experts have projected that the domestic currency may come down to Rs250-260 against the greenback ahead of the resumption of the IMF’s $7 billion loan programme.
Earlier, the Fund had asked the government to let market forces (mostly commercial banks) determine the exchange rate. This was among four major conditions to resume the stalled IMF programme.
‘No more electoral politics’
Meanwhile, Miftah while speaking to the local TV channel, also revealed that he had decided not to take any further part in electoral politics in the country.
“I am part of the Muslim league [PML-N], but I have decided that I will not contest the next elections,” he remarked.
His statement comes amid reports that the PML-N is mulling to take action against Miftah for publicly criticising the incumbent finance minister’s policies.
“Dar sahab publicly criticised me and raised questions over my competence. Hence it is my right to respond to him, but my party has not taken any action against me,” he said.
Miftah also rejected reports that he was planning to launch new political party.
“My political career is not important. What matters is what we can do for our country,” he said.
He was responding to a question related to new initiative “Re-imagining Pakistan” wherein Miftah along with other like-minded political leaders including PPP’s Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar and PML-N’s Shahid Khaqan Abbasi have been holding seminars to highlight public issues.