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Former HBL CEO Muhammad Aurangzeb Takes Helm as Pakistan’s Finance Minister

Muhammad Aurangzeb, the former CEO of Habib Bank Limited, has assumed the role of Pakistan’s finance czar, as announced by the finance ministry on Monday. Following his swearing-in ceremony at the Aiwan-e-Sadr in Islamabad, Aurangzeb officially became a federal minister, joining the 19-member federal cabinet.

Aurangzeb’s transition from leading the country’s largest bank to a prominent government position was marked by his resignation from Habib Bank Limited, a move confirmed by the bank in a letter to the stock exchange. The resignation, which awaits approval from the State Bank of Pakistan, signifies a significant shift in leadership for HBL.

Notably, Aurangzeb was selected over other experienced individuals, including four-time finance minister Ishaq Dar, to address Pakistan’s economic challenges. With a $350 billion economy facing inflation and substantial external financing needs, the new finance team, led by Aurangzeb, is tasked with navigating the country out of its economic difficulties.

The pivotal focus of the finance team will be negotiating a new International Monetary Fund (IMF) program after the expiration of the current stand-by arrangement next month. Pakistan aims to secure a longer-term bailout to stabilize its economy amidst persistent inflation and growing external financing requirements.

Aurangzeb’s appointment reflects the government’s strategic decision to entrust the country’s economic revival to a seasoned professional with a background in finance and banking. As the finance czar, he will play a crucial role in steering Pakistan through negotiations with international financial institutions, ensuring fiscal stability, and addressing the economic complexities that have emerged.

The challenges ahead for the finance team include formulating effective policies to stimulate economic growth, attract investments, and manage inflationary pressures. With the responsibility of charting a course for Pakistan’s economic future, Aurangzeb’s leadership will be closely monitored as the nation strives for financial resilience and sustainable development.

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