ISLAMABAD - Former finance minister Asad Umar is likely to make a return to the federal cabinet and is expected to hold two portfolios of Commerce and Planning & Development ministries, The Nation has learnt.

Asad Umar met Prime Minister Imran Khan Tuesday, the first meeting between the two since last month’s cabinet shuffle.

Asad Umar had initially ruled out accepting some other cabinet position when the prime minister had asked him to step down as the finance minister. However, there has been a pressure on Asad Umar from within the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and highly influential and powerful quarters to revert his decision. “Asad Umar will be back in the cabinet soon,” remarked an official privy to the details.

Asad Umar, despite his lackluster performance as finance minister, retains a popular support base within the party. He was one of the most prominent faces of the party after Imran Khan during the election campaign and has remained a trusted aide of prime minister.

Asad Umar was, in fact, so sure of his strong position that he casually laughed off speculations about his removal when the news was leaked to local media last month about an impending change in the cabinet.

The departure from the finance ministry left Asad Umar visibly shocked and dejected, but he was careful not to blame the prime minister or express any bitterness towards him when he addressed a press conference to announce his quitting the ministry. However, since then several PTI leaders and even Prime Minister Imran Khan have been saying that Asad Umar will return to the cabinet.