The removal of Ishaq Dar as Head of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) has led to questions over changes being made by the new cabinet, and the extent to which these changes look to reverse decisions made by the executive under former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The ECC will now be headed by the PM himself.

Mr Dar’s removal seems engineered more to prevent a power vacuum in the economic sector at a crucial time than anything else – with the Finance Minister facing the looming threat of action taken against him through NAB references filed by the Panama case. The Prime Minister is essentially protecting the executive in case the Finance Minister is also sent packing, which would leave it without any economic direction at a critical time.

The change in any case, is not really as monumental as it first seems. Finance Minister Ishaq Dar will still chair the committee in the PM’s absence, which might be fairly regularly given the Prime Minister’s (numerous) other commitments. There are also reports that Mr Dar will be made Chairman of a reconstituted Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC), the body responsible for giving the go-ahead on large-scale developmental endeavours. This change then, is purely cosmetic in terms of decision-making power – Finance Minister Ishaq Dar will still have a say in the country’s economic matters.

Traditionally, the Prime Minister is generally charged with overseeing the affairs of the ECC anyway – the former PM passed the buck onto his Finance Minister, but this does not mean that the next one has to do the same. As Finance Minister, Mr Dar still holds the purse strings of the country’s finances. The past four years have seen him steer the country’s economy in the direction he saw fit, and this last leg of the regime is likely to do things no differently.