To achieve the apparently unachievable high revenue target the government has taken a move to consult Mr. Haroon Akhtar Khan–a former senator of PML-N for providing his assistance in the matter. The high revenue target is troublesome in such a slow economy as Pakistan is currently having. The news of discussion with Mr. Khan has been disseminated on the same day when the news of FBR chairman Sahbbar Zaidi’s resignation has broken out.
Sources said to the reporters that Mr Haroon Khan was invited to share his opinions about the matters ranging from rising of prices to slowing the GDP growth. Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh Adviser to the PM on Finance, Adviser on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood & Planning Minister Asad Umar also attended the meeting. Mr Khan clearly pointed out that the contributory factor towards rising food prices and inflation in the country is the policy failure.
Sources say that the Ex-Chairman FBR Shabbar Zaidi will resign soon
When contacted by media on the issue of meeting, Mr Shaikh did downplay the significance of meeting. He said, “A lot of meetings like this take place”. “He [Mr Khan] had some good ideas on the economy and is a seasoned hand on revenue matters,” Mr Shaikh said while denying the talk of any changes in the current portfolios. He neither denied nor confirmed the news that the portfolio of revenue adviser has been offered to Mr Haroon Khan, currently Mr Shaikh holds the portfolio himself. The matter is said to be the search of New FBR Chief sine Shabar Zaidi has confirmed his intentions to resign.
Sources say that a one to one meeting was also held between PM Khan and Mr. Haroon Khan. In the said meeting the position of revenue minister or adviser was offered to him. He has taken a few days to inform about his decision. He has served as revenue minister in the government of PML-N. It is yet to be decided whether he would be independent and be reporting to PM or would be working under Mr. Shaikh.
“PM Khan himself offered Haroon Akhtar the portfolio of Finance Minister”, Sources claim
It is evident that history would be affecting the decision. In the near past when Mr. Shaikh was appointed as Adviser to PM on finance, revenue and economic affairs, the portfolio of revenue was allocated to Hammad Azhar by the Government. He was supposed to be Federal revenue minister soon after the budget speech. However the government quickly reversed the decision and the position was taken back with days from Mr Azhar and awarded to Mr Shaikh.
Similarly the relations between FBR chairman Shabbar Zaidi and Mr Shaikh had been subjected to tensions. The issue was that FBR chairman started reporting to PM directly. He never invited Mr Shaikh to FBR and Shaikh only made one visit on first day of new year. He conveyed his dissatisfaction on the performance of FBR then.
Sources also claim that the search for Shabbar Zaidi’s replacement has started as informed by PM Secretariat. Mr Zaidi also confirmed that he himself had asked PM to search for his replacement. However he has not submitted resignation yet. In case Mr Haroon accepts the offer (Finance Minister) he will suggest someone to fill the post.