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Pakistan Appoints Former Bank CEO Muhammad Aurangzeb as New Finance Minister

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – In a pivotal move, Pakistan’s newly elected coalition government has appointed Muhammad Aurangzeb, the former CEO of Habib Bank Limited (HBL), as the country’s new Finance Minister. The appointment comes at a crucial juncture, as the current Stand-By Arrangement (SBA) with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is set to expire next month, and discussions regarding a new Extended Fund Facility (EFF) are underway.

After taking the oath at the Presidency, Aurangzeb officially assumed the responsibilities of the Finance Minister of Pakistan. President Asif Ali Zardari administered the oath to the 19-member federal cabinet, which includes Aurangzeb. Shehbaz Sharif, who was elected as Prime Minister for a second term, included Aurangzeb in the cabinet and entrusted him with the crucial portfolio of finance minister.

Aurangzeb brings over 30 years of international banking experience to the role, making him well-qualified to navigate the country’s economic challenges. Notably, the newly appointed finance minister had previously renounced his Pakistani nationality for Dutch citizenship. However, he has expressed excitement about the opportunity to serve his country in this new capacity and contribute to its economic growth and development.

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Upon his arrival at the Finance Ministry, Aurangzeb was warmly welcomed by the Secretary of Finance and senior ministry officials. A preliminary meeting of senior management was also held to facilitate introductions and initial discussions.

In a letter to the Pakistan Stock Exchange, HBL informed the bourse of Aurangzeb’s resignation from the bank. The bank described his resignation as a “remarkable act of national service.”

Pakistan’s economy has been facing significant challenges, including high inflation, dwindling foreign reserves, and a widening trade deficit. The appointment of Aurangzeb as Finance Minister is seen as a strategic move by the government to address these pressing economic issues and forge a path towards stability and growth.

As the new Finance Minister assumes office, all eyes will be on the measures and policies he implements to steer Pakistan’s economy in the right direction. The international community, including the IMF and other financial institutions, will closely monitor the developments and the government’s efforts to secure a new Extended Fund Facility.

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