Pakistan finance minister steps down amid cabinet reshuffle, IMF talks

Pakistani Finance Minister Asad Umar said on Thursday he would step down in a cabinet reshuffle by Prime Minister Imran Khan. The resignation has raised questions on plans for averting an economic crisis amid bailout talks with the International Monetary Fund, Reuters said. Speculation of the departure was rife for months, with some business groups and investors unhappy at Umar’s strategy of seeking short-term loans from allies such as China and Saudi Arabia instead of finalizing an IMF rescue package after Khan assumed power in August. Umar has been leading negotiations with the IMF for what would be Pakistan’s 13th bailout since the late 1980s. The minister has faced criticism over a worsening economic outlook. Umar said he was asked to quit on Wednesday night and turned down the energy portfolio offered by Khan.

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