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May 5, 2019

Why did govt seek resignation of SBP governor?

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May 5, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan had sought resignation from reputed SBP Governor Tariq Bajwa without assigning any reason. 

However, credible sources revealed that the Central Bank chief was not only found too tough for the IMF but was also under pressure to provide favourable documentation in a few cases of serious illegalities in financial matters, including that of a PTI leader presently under NAB’s custody.

There were few demands of serious illegalities, which Tariq Bajwa refused to deliver. The sources said that Bajwa was told to give in writing something on behalf of State Bank that could save the “favourites” from criminal cases of financial nature. It is not known whether Prime Minister Imran Khan was aware of such illegal demands from the outgoing SBP Governor.

No reason was conveyed while seeking premature removal of Bajwa in violation of the State Bank Act, which guarantees stability of tenure for the Central Bank Regulator. Sources said that Bajwa when asked to quit had immediately resigned to avoid any confrontation between the government and SBP governor at a time when the country’s economy is already going through really difficult times.

According to a source, Bajwa was also resisting to certain demands of IMF, which he strongly thought were not in national interest.

A cabinet minister, however, when c ontacted said that the government will soon formally issue a policy statement on these changes. On condition of not being named, the minister doubted that anyone in the Imran Khan government could dare to seek illegal favours from the SBP chief to save any financial criminality of any favourite.

Tariq Bajwa belonging to 1981 batch of DMG was considered pride of Civil Service of Pakistan and for the same reason it was after a very long time that a former civil servant was appointed State Bank governor.

In the civil bureaucracy, he was considered most professional, hardworking, upright civil servant and enjoyed respect across the board for his competence and gilt edged integrity. He served as Finance Secretary, Punjab, from 2011 to 2013, and managed Punjab public sector finance mostly immaculately.

During his tenures as FBR chairman and secretary finance, his role was critical in doubling the tax collection from Rs1,800 billion to almost Rs4,000 billion.

“In the present Pak team that is negotiating bailout package with IMF, Bajwa was considered the most experienced having technical competence, intellectual strength and moral courage to stand up to the juggernaut of IMF,” a source said, adding that he was resisting further devaluation of rupee and heavy taxation being demanded by IMF programme negotiators.

It is feared that now with the induction of former world bank employee as Adviser Finance and existing employee of the IMF as Central Bank regulator, the present government is all set to sign the dotted line with IMF.

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