Banker to PM Pakistan – Shaukat Aziz

Banker to PM Pakistan 

Shaukat Aziz‘s story is from Banker to PM Pakistan, who was born on March 6, 1949, in Karachi. He
received his entire education in Pakistan, first at Corks Private School, then
at St Patrick’s High School in Karachi, which was run by Catholic missionaries,
as well as a year at a boarding school in Abbottabad. He earned his bachelor’s
degree in physics and chemistry from Gordon College in Rawalpindi before
enrolling in the Institute of Business Administration (IBA) in Karachi to pursue an
His father, S.A. Aziz (sometimes Abdul Aziz), was a
radio engineer who worked as chief engineer for the state-owned PakistanBroadcasting Corporation (PBC). His father, S.A. Aziz, was known for making
significant contributions to the development of Radio Pakistan and was the
architect of its external services; for this, the government of Pakistan
bestowed state honors on him in the 1950s. S.A. Aziz was a pioneer who
nurtured Radio Pakistan in its early days and charted the future roadmap for
network expansion, technological advancement, and growth.

as banker

In 1969, Aziz joined Citibank Pakistan’s corporate branch as
a credit officer. After arriving in the United States to assume the charge of
corporate assignment, Aziz settled in New York City and took over Citibank’s
office operations at the Empire State Building. In the United States, Aziz
worked for Citibank in a variety of capacities, including Corporate and Investment Banking, Corporate Planning Officer, Chief Financial Officer of
Citicorp, and Managing Director of Citibank Singapore. Aziz was instrumental in
bringing multinational banking industries into Pakistan in the 1990s, and he
was instrumental in expanding Citibank branches and corporate directive
operations throughout the country. Aziz was the corporate director of Asia
Pacific global finance operations at Citibank and was well-known for financing
and managing funds in global stock markets on behalf of Citibank and other
financial corporations. Aziz continued to visit Pakistan, working to expand Citibank’s
financial services and banking, as well as overseeing Citigroup’s branch
network and influence in Pakistan. He worked closely with the governments of
Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif in the 1990s to help negotiate economic relief
packages and aid to Pakistan, while maintaining diverse relations with
Pakistan’s Armed Forces, who would also visit the US as part of Sharif’s and
Benazir Bhutto’s state visits. Aziz had extensive access to the US Treasury,
the World Bank, and numerous other global financial institutions. Aziz
collaborated closely with the US in order to finance US war games and
operations. John B. Taylor maintained (In a book, 
Global Financial
Warrior) that Aziz was well-versed in the intricacies of secretive methods of
transferring funds in and out of South Asia, particularly clandestine financing
of nuclear weapons programs in India and Pakistan.

Shaukat Aziz

to Politician

Aziz reportedly rejoined Musharraf in November 1999 and took
over the Finance Ministry as Finance Minister. The national economy suffered a
70% decline, with losses ranging from $150 million (1999) to $600 million
(2000), accounting for 0.21 percent of global FDI flow. With his macroeconomic
policies, taxation framework, and consistent investment policy, Aziz took initiatives
for FDI, offering incentives to foreign investors. Aziz implemented and
activated the Privatization Program (established in 1991 by former Prime
Minister Nawaz Sharif) in 2001, opening all state-owned enterprises (SOEs) to
the private sector
. This program
propelled the country into rapid economic growth and the highest level of
industrialization it had seen since 1972. Following the 2002 general elections,
Aziz stepped up his campaign and aggressively pursued economic liberalization policies in the country. Aziz’s financial policies became embroiled in
controversies, posing new challenges for Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali,
who was forced to resign in his favor. His affordable real estate scheme
encouraged ordinary people to buy a house and a car for a low investment, but
it also resulted in an increase in zoning violations in construction companies.
Although Zafarullah Khan Jamali kept inflation at a low level, his price
control deregulation policies caused oil and sugar prices to skyrocket. His
public and economic liberalization policies expanded the political role of
Pakistan’s Supreme Court at a higher level of government, allowing it to target
high-level government corruption independently and without government
interference. Pakistan’s Foreign Reserves had been restored to $16.4 billion by
October 2007, at the end of Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz’s tenure. Pakistan had
a trade deficit of $13 billion, exports of $18 billion, revenue generation of
$13 billion, and foreign investment of $8.4 billion. The IMF and World Bank
both praised Pakistan’s fiscal performance. The World Bank also stated that
Pakistan’s economic growth has increased international confidence. Mr. George
Abed, the IMF’s new South Asia director, stated that he is “very pleased
with Pakistan’s record of continued macroeconomic and financial stabilization
over the last three years, and we have begun to think of Pakistan as a country
of promise and potentially high rate of growth.” The Asian Development
Bank lauded Pakistan’s Micro-Finance sector as well. Mr. Aziz was named
“Finance Minister of the Year” by Euromoney and Bankers magazines in
2001. By 2004, Aziz had become General Musharraf’s right-hand man, as Musharraf
described in his memoirs. Shaukat Aziz’s performance as finance minister had
impressed Pakistan’s powerful oligarch business class, particularly Chaudhry
Shujaat Hussain. Following the resignation of Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali on
June 26, 2004, Hussain nominated Aziz for the office of Prime Minister.
Musharraf also considered Aziz a top candidate for the Prime Ministerial post. Aziz,
on the other hand, was a Senator but not a member of the National Assembly. The
Prime Minister was required by the constitution to be a member of the National
Assembly. Aziz was regarded as a “technocrat,” having won the trust
of the establishment, international institutions, and public support. His
appointment came after another technocrat-economist, Dr. Manmohan Singh was
elected Prime Minister of India, and Aziz was widely regarded as compatible
with his Indian counterpart.

to Present

is a senior visiting research fellow at Oxford University’s Green TempletonCollege and an Honorary Doctor of Laws at the Institute of Business
Administration, University of Karachi, where he earned his MBA. Mr. Aziz received
an Honorary Doctorate in Business Administration from East Asia University in
Bangkok, Thailand, in 2014. Aziz serves on the boards and advisory boards of
numerous commercial and non-profit organizations around the world. He is a
frequent speaker on global, geopolitical, and economic topics. He is married
with three adult children.

I hope this article has helped you
learn a little bit about Shaukat Aziz, how he became “Banker to PM Pakistan” and 
Professional to Politician.

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