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February 11, 2020

PM meets Haroon Akhtar, discusses overall economy, tax revenue

National

February 11, 2020

ISLAMABAD: In an interesting development, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday listened to the views of former Special Assistant to PM on Revenue of the last PML-N government, Haroon Akhtar Khan, on the overall economy and tax revenues during a meeting of the economic team held at the PM Secretariat. Haroon Akhtar Khan was among the special invitees of the meeting held with the economic team under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Imran Khan. Haroon Akhtar Khan might be offered the position of Adviser to Prime Minister on Revenue anytime soon with the possibility to appoint the new chairman FBR of his choice, said sources.

There are different names under consideration for the slot of chairman FBR including Tariq Pasha, Mujtaba Memon, Jehanzeb Khan, Nausheen Javed and Javed Ghani. With the latest development, Tariq Pasha is considered among the top contenders of this top position within the ranks of FBR. Pasha is going to reach the age of superannuation very soon, so if the government decides his name, he might be given a contract for three years period.

Jehanzeb Khan, who is currently serving as Deputy Chairman Planning Commission, is in the race and he will also be retiring in coming August 2020. It is also a fact that Adviser to PM on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh wants to see Mujtaba Memon as the new chairman FBR but with the possibility of induction of new adviser to PM on revenue, his powers on the revenue front will be taken away from him.

Earlier, once the government had appointed Hammad Azhar as Minister for Revenue but later his portfolio was changed within 24 hours and he was appointed as minister for economic affairs. The Statistics Division was already taken away from the domain of the Finance Ministry because it was shifted under the jurisdiction of Planning Ministry through a restructuring plan on the advice of Dr Ishrat Hussain.

Prime Minister Imran Khan had reportedly made it clear that there would be no change under consideration related to Adviser to PM on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh and Governor State Bank of Pakistan Dr Reza Baqir, however, he directed his economic team to find a new chairman FBR after possible quitting of incumbent Chairman FBR Shahbar Zaidi on health grounds.

Former federal minister Humayun Akhtar and Haroon Akhtar Khan are real brothers but both belong to different political parties. Humayun Akhtar Khan had contested the last general elections on the ticket of PTI but Haroon Akhtar remained attached with the PML-N. However, the Supreme Court of Pakistan had disqualified him on account of dual nationality in October 2018.

When contacted, former special assistant to PM Haroon Akhtar Khan on Monday said that he was invited by the PM for listening his views on economy and tax revenues, so he attended the meeting of the economic team to this effect on Monday.

When he was asked whether he was going to join the government as Adviser to PM on Revenue, he replied that nothing of this sort had come under discussion during today’s meeting.