ISLAMABAD/LONDON: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar would continue to oversee governance and political matters in the absence of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who is likely to extend his stay in London for more than a month. Sources told Daily Times the finance minister held important meetings with the prime minister during his brief visit to London, discussed in detail the situation back home and received pat on the back. The prime minister already had mandated his trusted aide to hold the fort before he underwent an open-heart surgery. Dar was an old loyalist of Sharif family who, in 2004, cemented his bond with the family after his son married prime minister’s daughter. When the prime minister chaired a special cabinet meeting via video link from London, earlier this month, to approve the 2016-17 federal budget, it was Dar who co-chaired the meeting in Islamabad. Sources said the prime minister asked the finance minister to run day-to-day affairs of the federal government in his absence. He was also tasked to safeguard the ruling family’s political interests, especially when a joint parliamentary committee is holding back-to-back meetings to prepare terms of reference for a proposed Judicial Commission on Panama Leaks. Sharif family released pictures of the prime minister walking in London’s Hyde Park along with his wife. Earlier, he was also shown walking out of the hospital despite just a week ago he had undergone the open-heart surgery. The wisdom behind releasing such images was to shun rumours that he was no longer capable of running the government anytime soon. Meanwhile, the finance minister returned to Pakistan with a fresh mandate from his boss. He would have a final say in all governance and political matters. The move was also made to kill the speculations that Sharif family was considering an in-house change for a short period of time. The prime minister’s political ally Maulana Fazlur Rehman has already advised him to step down until his complete recovery. He even proposed the name of Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan as an interim prime minister. Sources said one of the PML-N governors also made a similar suggestion. However, the advice of stepping down and having an interim prime minister was not appreciated by Sharifs. The prime minister’s extraordinary trust in the finance minister seemed to have annoyed the interior minister, who is one of the most senior leaders of the PML-N. Being a no non-sense person, Chaudhry Nisar does not hide his annoyance or frustration behind the mask of hypocritical smile. For instance, he did not attend the above-mentioned special cabinet meeting, which was being co-chaired by the finance minister. The interior minister has not been on talking terms with defence minister Khawaja Asif for more than three years. The same sort of strained relationship has now developed between him and the finance minister. Meanwhile, legal team of the prime minister has advised him to stay behind Article 90 of the Constitution no matter how long he would remain outside Pakistan. The Article 90 empowers the prime minister to run the government through his federal ministers.