Govt not taking over forex reserves of commercial banks: FinMin Ishaq Dar

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Ishaq Dar reserves
Pakistani Finance Minister Ishaq Dar (C) and Federal Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique (L) / AFP PHOTO / AAMIR QURESHI (Photo credit should read AAMIR QURESHI/AFP via Getty Images)

Islamabad: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar Wednesday clarified that the federal government was not considering options to freeze foreign exchange reserves held by commercial banks, adding that such “misconstrued, misinterpreted and malafide, propaganda should be ignored”.

Ishaq Dar’s remarks came days after he said in an interview that Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves stand at $10 billion, a much higher figure than the State Bank’s $5.6 billion reserves as of Dec 30, 2022, because “dollars held by commercial banks also belonged to the country”.

This comment gave rise to fears that the government may confiscate dollars from private banks, as had been done in 1998 when Dar was the finance minister.

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Speaking in a press conference alongside Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar clarified his statement saying that he had stated that Pakistan’s reserves were $10 billion because, till 1999, the reserves of the country, were classified cumulatively.

Taking to Twitter, Ishaq Dar said, “Some vested elements who ruined this country’s economy in the past, gave it a deliberate twist and started a campaign as if the [government] was considering an access to foreign exchange held with Commercial Banks which indeed is the property of the citizens.”

“It is categorically denied and clarified that there is no such move under consideration of the [government],” Dar added.

Pakistan’s forex reserves plunge $245.4 million to reach $5.57 billion