Ishaq Dar has been granted leave from his position as minister for finance. Whether PML-N’s top leadership persuaded Dar or it was his own decision to take leave, the problem is still to be solved. Criticism of opposition parties of government’s reluctance to bring another finance minister will not end with the approved leave.

Despite court proceedings against him and subsequent demand from the opposition parties to vacate the office of Finance Minister, Dar, with the leave granted, seems to be in no mood to step down. Till the leave expires, the PM will oversee the affairs of the finance ministry as per cabinet rules.

At best, the leave of Dar can only be seen as an effort or a stopgap measure that offers face-saving to the finance minister and the government –as Abbasi is looking into the financial matters. It seems like with the leave, the government wants to give an impression to the people that Dar is not controlling the financial affairs anymore. Earlier, the ruling party had failed to act upon the Senate Standing Committee on finance’s advice–asking for Dar’s resignation.

In present circumstances, it is best for the government to nominate a full-time finance minister with a clean financial record and sound health who can work with diligence to steer the lousy economy of the country. It is not good for the already overburdened and overworked PM to take charge of the economic affairs of the state.

Instead of admitting the fact that without a full-time minister, the finance ministry’s work has been adversely affected during last four months and by not taking corrective measures, the government does not want to find a solution for the problem at hand. There are a number of pending documents in the finance ministry and Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) facing undue delays because these papers need approvals and signatures of the finance minister. Contrary to what Dar says, it is a fact that ministries cannot be run through Skype or WhatsApp groups.