ISLAMABAD - As the negotiating teams of PTI government and International Monetary Fund (IMF) are about to cut the deal for Pakistan, controversy over recent appointments of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s new economic team is waning as well.

“The issue is settled. Now is the time to deliver. We hope the new economic team will deliver to improve the national economy”, a senior government advisor told The Nation on Thursday.

Requesting not to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue, the senior official said that IMF bailout package for Pakistan is almost ready to sign.

About the controversy on recent appointments of Prime Minister’s Advisor on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Governor State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Dr Reza Baqir and Chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Shabbar Zaidi, sources said it is a settled issue now.

Opposition parties were taken by surprise over the recent appointments on key positions and raised the issue in the parliament and through the media trying to embarrass Prime Minister Imran Khan and his government.

However, the controversy is weakening as IMF and PTI government teams are on the verge of signing the economic bailout package for Pakistan.       

The serious issue the PTI government had to face was about the appointment of Shabbar Zaidi as new FBR Chairman, but the government has finally managed and surmounted the challenge.

His appointment is an honorary position for two years; sources privy to the development said and sounded optimistic that the issue stands resolved.     The controversy about his appointment cropped up after the Establishment Division had cautioned the cabinet that Shabbar Zaidi’s appointment as chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) may hit legal and administrative snags.

Sensing the gravity of the situation, Prime Minister Imran Khan directed the Establishment Division to withdraw its summary and directed the Establishment Secretary Dr Ijaz Munir to furnish a fresh summary.

The Establishment Division presented a new summary with additional input from the Law Division to the Prime Minister which sources said has been approved and notification of appointment Shabbar Zaidi as new FBR Chairman has been issued.

Meanwhile, Minister for Law and Justice Barrister Farogh Naseem has said that there is no legal hurdle in the way of appointing Shabbar Zaidi as chairman of the Federal Board of Revenue. He said there is no difference among the cabinet members regarding the appointment of Shabbar Zaidi.

Barrister Farogh said those who were opposing Shabbar Zaidi’ appointment, were in fact against the merit.