As the government has decided to appoint Shaukat Fayyaz Ahmed Tarin as the new minister of finance and revenue, it needs to get him elected as the member of parliament within six months to have him continue in office, reports said.
This is the same as witnessed in Hafeez Shaikh’s case earlier.
In yet another shuffle in the federal cabinet, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday removed Hammad Azhar from the Finance Ministry less than a month after his appointment and replaced him with Tarin.
Prime Minister Imran, instead of appointing Tarin as his adviser on finance, appointed the banking wizard as the finance minister, for which, as per law, he needs to be a member of parliament within six months.
While most ministers have to be elected representatives – i.e. members of the National Assembly (NA) or Senate – there is a clause in the Constitution that allows short-term appointments of non-elected ministers.
According to clause nine of Article 91 of the Constitution, a non-elected person can be appointed a federal minister for six months once during the five-year tenure of the NA.
“A minister, who, for any period of six consecutive months, is not a member of the National Assembly, shall, at the expiration of that period, cease to be a minister and shall not before the dissolution of that assembly be again appointed a minister unless he is elected a member of that assembly,” reads the clause.
It is worth mentioning here that Tarin had become a senator and the federal finance minister in former president Asif Ali Zardari’s government.
According to an official at the Finance Ministry, Tarin, who was the finance minister during the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) tenure, would help the government in resolving many issues. As he had completed the 7th National Finance Commission (NFC), he may play an important role in resolving the longstanding issues related to the next NFC. No NFC award was given after the 7th NFC as differences between the Centre and provinces remained unresolved.
As Tarin had also signed the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme during the PPP government, he may also handle matters with the IMF to complete the existing loan programme signed by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government. Islamabad had signed the 39-month bailout programme with the IMF to avert sovereign default because of a balance-of-payment crisis.
As the finance minister under the PPP government, Tarin had signed the bailout programme with the IMF under that government and concluded the seventh NFC Award. However, he left the ministry without completing his tenure to start his own bank, Silk Bank, where he served on the top slot.
These changes come at a time when Pakistan has just received another $500 million from the IMF as part of the $6 billion bailout package it signed in July 2019.
The third and latest tranche of the program brings the total borrowing for budget support to $2 billion.
Tarin was already a member of the prime minister’s Economic Advisory Council. He is a banker by profession and worked as the president of HBL in 1997. In 2000, he built Union Bank, which was later sold to Standard Chartered Bank.
Earlier this month, it was reported that the government had made an offer to Tarin to join the federal cabinet as special assistant or adviser to the PM, but he linked his joining the federal cabinet with the decision on an accountability reference that he has been facing for nearly a decade.
He had that said he would not accept the offer, which he claimed had been made for a second time, unless a case against him filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was disposed of.