Pakistan Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar appointed Deputy Prime Minister

Islamabad:  In a major political development in Pakistan, Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar has been given the additional charge of Deputy Prime Minister in the Shehbaz Sharif-led coalition government, it was announced on Sunday.

“The Prime Minister has been pleased to designate Mohammad Ishaq Dar, Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs, as Deputy Prime Minister with immediate effect until further notice,” said a notification issued by the Cabinet Division.

The elevation of Dar, who is considered close to former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, is seen as the first strong influence of Nawaz Sharif in the federal government, which Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) refrains from taking ownership of and insists that it is a coalition government handed over to it forcibly.

“We have seen voices from within the PML-N stating that they were forced to take over the federal government by the military establishment even though Nawaz Sharif was not in favour of the decision because the party did not get a single majority to form the federal government,” senior political analyst Javed Siddique said.

“It is clear now that PML-N is focused on the Punjab province because Nawaz Sharif’s daughter Maryam Nawaz is its Chief Minister. Nawaz Sharif wants to regain his stronghold and work towards promoting his daughter as a success story, while also maintaining a strong influence over the federal government through his trusted aides like Ishaq Dar,” he added.

Dar previously served as Federal Minister of Commerce and Investment during 1997-99 when Nawaz Sharif was the Prime Minister.

He served twice as Federal Minister for Finance, Economic Affairs and Statistics from 1997 to 1999 and during 2008.

Dar has also served in a key position in the Punjab government as well, headed the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and was appointed as Minister of State/Chief Executive of the Pakistan Investment Board (PIB) from 1992 to 1993.

He became the Federal Minister for Finance in 2008 but resigned after his PML-N parted ways with coalition partner, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), in the federal government.

He was appointed again as Finance Minister from September 2022 till August 2023 under the coalition government of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) under the then Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

However, Dar got a new position as Pakistan’s Foreign Minister in March this year, even though he was believed to be the PML-N’s go-to man for the Finance Department.

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