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Islamabad, Pakistan – The Pakistani government has appointed a new finance minister, the fourth person to hold the post in the last two years, as Prime Minister Imran Khan shakes up his economic team in his sixth cabinet reshuffle since assuming power in 2018.
Shaukat Tarin, a former banker, was named as the new finance minister, the prime minister’s office said on Friday.
Tarin had previously held the post under the opposition Pakistan People’s Party government for two years in 2008.
His predecessor, Hammad Azhar, held the portfolio for less than three weeks before he was replaced, being handed the energy ministry’s portfolio.
The prime minister also shifted Khusro Bakhtiar, the economic affairs minister, to the industries and production ministry, with former energy minister Omar Ayub Khan taking Bakhtiar’s place.
Khan also reappointed Fawad Chaudhry as his information minister, with former information minister Shibli Faraz replacing Chaudhry as science and technology minister.
The shake-up comes at a key time for Khan’s government, as it enters a period of budget-making ahead of June’s expected presentation of the next financial year’s budget and the implantation of reforms that are part of a $6 billion International Monetary Fund bailout.
Pakistan’s economy, like others in the region, was hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, contracting by 0.4 percent in 2020.
This year has seen spiralling inflation, particularly for essential food items, with year-on-year consumer inflation clocked at 9.1 percent. Food inflation was registered at 11.6 percent.
Asad Hashim is Al Jazeera’s digital correspondent in Pakistan. He tweets @AsadHashim.