Miftah Ismail, the prime minister’s adviser on finance, has been appointed as the federal minister for Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs before the announcement of the budget for 2018 on Friday.
Ismail’s appointment was recommended by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and approved by President Mamnoon Hussain who administered the oath to Ismail on Friday during a ceremony at the Presidency.
Since Ismail is not a Member of Parliament, his appointment has been undertaken as per section nine of Article 91 of the Constitution which concerns appointing any non-elected person a member of the cabinet.
Ismail succeeds Ishaq Dar, who has been in London for medical treatment since October 2017. Dar has been declared an absconder by an accountability court after repeated failure to appear before court to face corruption cases against him.
Ismail, who is a political economist and a member of the ruling PML-N, holds a PhD from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
The Opposition registered a strong protest during the budget presentation.
Finance Minister Miftah Ismail presented outgoing PML-N government’s sixth full-term budget in the National Assembly on Friday amid strong protests by the opposition, calling for a budget covering only one quarter.
The leaders of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) criticised the government’s decision to present a full-year budget, terming it “illegal and unconstitutional”.
During Ismail’s address, members of the opposition continued to chant anti-government slogans and ripped apart copies of the budget. PML-N members encircled Ismail during the speech to keep the protesters at a distance.
“This government has no ethical right to present the budget for the entire year,” said Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah. “Unfortunately, the government is snatching the right of the next assembly with today’s budget,” said Shah.
Shah Mehmood Qureshi of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) shared the same opinions, saying: “Instead of an elected minister, you [PML-N] are giving the mandate to present the budget to an un-elected person.”