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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 August 2004, 10:22 GMT 11:22 UK
Profile: Shaukat Aziz
By-election poster for Shaukat Aziz
Mr Aziz has no political constituency of his own, observers say
Pakistan's Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz is a former private banker credited with recent reforms of his country's economy.

Well regarded by global financiers, the former Citibank executive was President Pervez Musharraf's choice for the top post.

When former Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali resigned in June, the ruling party swiftly declared that Mr Aziz, the finance minister, would take over.

He first had to secure a seat in parliament - a requirement to take up the top post - and did so in August with victory in two by-elections.

Mr Aziz replaced ailing Pakistan Muslim League leader, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, who was in temporary charge.

Currency of friendship

The urbane and smartly dressed Mr Aziz, 55, joined the government of General Musharraf shortly after the army chief's 1999 military coup.

Under his tenure, an economy then in recession now reports growth of 6.4% a year.

Shaukat Aziz (left) and current PM, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain
Shaukat Aziz (left) with temporary PM, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain

Observers attribute this success largely to debt reduction and the securing of hundreds of millions of dollars in loans and aid in return for support in the US-led war on terror.

Analysts say his main duties as premier are to improve the day-to-day running of the federal government and see that policies are more effectively executed.

Mr Aziz, who is married with three children, was born and brought up in the southern city of Karachi, Pakistan's commercial capital.

He joined Citibank in 1969 after a degree in business administration from the Institute of Business Administration, Karachi and progressed to a senior post with the bank in New York at the height of a 30-year career in global finance.

Mr Aziz may be the choice of a section of Pakistan's rulers, who hope he will win friends in the international financial institutions.

But he has no political constituency of his own in Pakistan, observers say.

Locals in one of the by-election seats picked for him were reported to have scratched their heads and asked who he was when they heard the name of their candidate.

He is evidently better known to elements seeking to undermine the president's administration.

It was while campaigning for the by-elections that he survived an apparent assassination attempt on 30 July in Punjab province.

His driver and eight others died in the suicide bomb attack.

The BBC's Paul Anderson
"Last month...he narrowly avoided an attack by a suicide bomber"

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