Pakistan's Finance Minister Asad Umar — an hour after announcing that he is stepping down as finance minister on Thursday — told a press conference that it was time to make some "difficult decisions" to stabilise the economy and that he hopes his replacement would be supported in their efforts.
Umar, via Twitter, announced earlier that he has obtained the prime minister's consent "to not take any cabinet position" days after reports of a reshuffle in the cabinet were rubbished by the Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry.
"As part of a cabinet reshuffle, [the] prime minister desired that I take the energy minister portfolio instead of finance," he said. "However, I have obtained his consent to not take any cabinet position."
Umar ended his tweet by saying: "I strongly believe @ImranKhanPTI is the best hope for Pakistan and inshAllah will make a naya Pakistan."
During the press conference, Umar, who kept an upbeat demeanour, said he was asked to take the energy portfolio following a reshuffle in the cabinet, reported Dawn.
"I met the prime minister this morning and convinced him that I did not want to take any portfolio," he said.
"This does not mean that I am not available to forward PTI’s vision for 'Naya Pakistan'. I am and will always be available to forward the interests of this country."
In response to a question about the earlier reports of reshuffling in the cabinet, he said: "I was first told [about this portfolio change] last night."
"I think, as per my discussion with the prime minister, other changes [in the cabinet] will be announced either tonight or tomorrow morning."
Reports were circulating earlier this week about a possible reshuffle in the post for Minister for Finance and Minister of State for Interior held by Asad Umar and Shehryar Afridi respectively.
According to Dawn report, the government in general and the finance minister in particular have faced mounting criticism by opposition parties, members of the business community and citizens over the handling of the economic crisis.
Umar recently returned from a trip to Washington in which the details of Pakistan's next International Monetary Fund bailout were finalised, documented and signed. An IMF mission is expected to visit Islamabad before the end of the month to work out technical tables since all major issues had been settled and documented, Umar had said.
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