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Pakistan appoints new finance minister amid economic crisis

ISLAMABAD (AP) – Pakistan appointed a new finance minister yesterday, as the nation struggles to recover from an economic crisis worsened by deadly floods.

Senior figure in the ruling Pakistan Muslim League party Ishaq Dar has been finance minister three times, and he is credited with overcoming economic turmoil during his previous stints in the role.

His challenges will be to convince the International Monetary Fund to soften some of its conditions under which Pakistan received a USD6 billion bailout in 2019 and to deal with the economic devastation caused by unprecedented flooding. He will also have to tackle a sharp rise in inflation and stabilise the rupee after it plummeted to a record low of 240 against the US dollar last week.

Dar’s appointment comes as Pakistan struggles with the aftermath of historic flooding, which has killed 1,663 people, affected tens of millions others, and left hundreds of thousands homeless.

The government has estimated losses of USD30 billion.

He was sworn in during a brief ceremony attended by President Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. Sharif praised Dar’s predecessor, Miftah Ismail, for playing a key role in averting a possible default because of his brilliant handling of the ministry in recent months.

Newly appointed Finance Minister Ishaq Dar during an oath-taking ceremony in Islamabad, Pakistan. PHOTO: AP

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