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Asad Umar resigns, says time to take ‘difficult decision’

ISLAMABAD:  Federal Finance Minister Asad Umar on Thursday announced to step down, saying that it is time to take difficult decisions.

Umar while addressing a press conference to announce his resignation said that it was time to make some “difficult decisions” to stabilise the economy.

He underlined the need that whoever replaces him must be given time and thing would not change overnight.

Earlier Umar announced via Twitter 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.”

He old the press conference that he had met the prime minister this morning and convinced him that he did not want to take any portfolio.

He made it clear that the decision was not meant he was not available to forward PTI’s vision for ‘Naya Pakistan’. He added that he was 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.”

“It was on exactly this date in 2012, when newspapers had announced that I was joining the PTI. Today seven years later, I am giving you this news.

“I need to thank the PTI’s youth for their enthusiasm. I need to say that when we came in, the economy was in a dangerous and sorry state, we were standing near a ditch, one move and we would have been in the ditch. The state of the economy is still not great [and] the next finance minister that comes in will still have a hard time.

“What I want is that whoever comes in is supported when they make difficult decisions for the sake of the nation.

“I believe that this decision [appointment of finance minister] should be made as soon as possible […] we are about to go to the IMF (International Monetary Fund), we are about to present the budget. This is already too late, the next person should have come in earlier, at least a month ago.”

Asked whether there had been a conspiracy in the government to remove him, Umar did not give a definite answer.

“I came into politics so that I could do something for the betterment of the country. I don’t know if there has been a conspiracy or not [to remove me] but all I know is that my ‘captain’ wanted to see me in the role of the energy minister. I did not think that would be a great idea so I refused.

“We have finalised the IMF agreement on much better terms than before. It is the time to take difficult decisions; I have made these decisions, I refused to take the decisions that would have crushed the nation.”

Answering another question, he said: “The amnesty scheme has nothing to do with my leaving the post.”