Pakistani finance minister to resign

Pakistani Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin is to step down this week to focus on his private banking interests, according to reports, following speculation that he would resign.

 Tarin, who negotiated an IMF loan in 2008, was not immediately available for comment.

In March 2008, a consortium comprising the International Finance Corporation, Bank Muscat, Nomura and Sinthos Capital, led by Tarin and another Pakistani banker, Sadeq Saeed, bought an 86.55 percent stake in Silk Bank for about $213m.

“New investors in his Silk Bank had set preconditions that they will invest billions in the bank provided a seasoned banker like Tarin pays full-time attention,” read reports.

Tarin's resignation is not expected to destabilise the government but international donors will be keen to see a respected minister appointed in his place.

Tarin had suggested three candidates to replace him, according to reports. One was former governor Ishrat Husain, another was senior economist Hafiz Pasha and the third was chief executive of Arif Habib Investment Ltd, Nasim Beg.

Asked by reporters this month about the possibility of his stepping down, Tarin said he had not resigned nor had he discussed stepping down with anyone.

Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani was caught advertently by microphones telling a former finance minister, Ishaq Dar, that Tarin would be leaving.

Tarin was appointed the prime minister's top adviser on economic affairs in October 2008 and later sworn in as finance minister.

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