Aurangzeb assumes role as finance minister amid challenges | The Express Tribune

Aurangzeb assumes role as finance minister amid challenges | The Express Tribune


In a significant development for Pakistan’s economic landscape, Muhammad Aurangzeb officially took charge as the Finance Minister on Monday after being sworn in at the President’s House earlier in the day.

Aurangzeb has been serving as president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Habib Bank Limited (HBL).

Aurangzeb is a seasoned banker with more than 35 years of diverse experience at leading global banks in Pakistan and overseas. Before joining HBL, he was CEO Global Corporate Bank, Asia Pacific at JP Morgan.

Aurangzeb started his career with Citibank, first in Pakistan and later in New York. He then joined ABN AMRO Bank in a senior leadership role, rising to the position of the country manager in Pakistan. He has since held senior level regional and global positions in ABN AMRO Amsterdam, RBS Singapore and JP Morgan.

He is a graduate of the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania from where he received a Bachelor’s degree in Science and Economics as well as an MBA.

Upon his arrival at the Finance Ministry today, Aurangzeb received a warm welcome from the finance secretary and other senior officials. In his first act as finance minister, he chaired a meeting where he was introduced to the senior administrators and officers of the Ministry of Finance.

A comprehensive briefing on the affairs of the ministry was also presented to the new federal minister of finance.

Also read: New 19-member federal cabinet takes oath

The inauguration of the new federal cabinet, consisting of 19 members, took place earlier in the day during a ceremony at the President’s House. Newly-elected President Asif Ali Zardari administered the oath, with prominent figures such as Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and other military and political leaders in attendance.

The choice of the new finance minister has been a matter of careful consideration for the ruling coalition led by the Pakistan Muslim League-N. The party faced a dilemma between appointing the highly experienced Ishaq Dar for the role and introducing a new face at a critical economic juncture.

Dar, a four-time finance minister, is renowned as a ‘tough negotiator’ with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). However, his past dealings with the IMF have become a point of contention, particularly regarding the failure of the last $6.5 billion bailout package. Dar attributed the stalled loan programme to global geopolitics, a statement that drew criticism from the US and the IMF.

While Dar is credited with successfully completing the 2013-16 IMF programme, his recent challenges with the international financial institution led to a reconsideration of his appointment. The current IMF deal was finalised after the intervention of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

As Aurangzeb assumes the role of finance minister, he steps into a crucial position at a time when Pakistan faces economic uncertainties and challenges.

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