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Shaukat Aziz’s book due to be published on May 26

March 06, 2016

LAHORE: Pakistan's former Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, who will turn 67 on Sunday (today), has co-authored a book "From banking to the thorny world of politics," which analyses the complex relationships between Pakistan and the United States, India, Afghanistan and China.

Due to be published on May 26, 2016, this book has been priced at $18.43 (16.59 British Pounds) by Amazon.com, United Kingdom.

Co-authored by an award-winning 'Sunday Times' journalist Anna Mikhailova in London, this book has provided an insider's account of what it was like for Shaukat Aziz to join General Pervez Musharraf's military government.

The former Pakistani premier has also shared his interesting experiences about holding a high office in one of the most challenging parts of the world, besides shedding light on the global players who had shaped the world affairs during his time.

Shaukat and Anna have viewed on the policy decisions from the American Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld to the US Marine Corps General James Jones to the British Premier Tony Blair, and the geopolitical environment existing today.

The forthcoming book focuses on how things had changed drastically just two years after Shaukat had assumed charge as Pakistan's finance minister on November 6, 1999, as the 9/11 episode had made Pakistan a vital strategic ally in the US-led War on Terror.

Having served as prime minister of Pakistan from August 20, 2004 to November 15, 2007, and as country's finance minister from November 6, 1999, to November 15, 2007, Shaukat Aziz had left behind a 30-year career as a senior Citibank executive to join General Musharraf's military regime in Pakistan, following a coup on October 12, 1999, that had unceremoniously ousted Premier Nawaz Sharif from power.

Before commencing his journey through the cozy yet intriguing corridors of power in 1999, Shaukat Aziz had been the President of the Citi Private Bank in New York.

While campaigning on July 29, 2004, he had survived an assassination attempt in the small town of Fateh Jang in Attock District. He was contesting an election on a National Assembly seat from Fateh Jang, shortly before, he was appointed the country's chief  executive. The life attempt was made when the Prime Minister-designate was departing after meeting his prospective voters and loyalists.

A suicide bomber, with explosives strapped around his body, had struck the convoy of Shaukat Aziz, when he was leaving after an election rally at Fateh Jang. 

Aziz's chauffeur was among those killed in the attack, along with eight others.

After the incident, a credible Indian news, information, entertainment and shopping web portal "Rediff.com" had quoted Aziz as saying: "I had a providential escape."

The blast had sprayed shrapnel into a crowd of supporters, and at least seven people were seriously wounded. Overall, more than two dozen people were wounded.

After safely reaching Islamabad, he had instigated a probe, while the Pakistan Foreign Office had contacted its mission in Egypt to try to determine the veracity of an Al-Qaeda claim of responsibility.

Consequently, not fewer than 10 Al-Qaeda perpetrators were arrested in Egypt and later extradited to Pakistan for the crime. The July 31, 2004, edition of the "Washington Post" had reported: "The attack, blamed by officials on Islamic militants, came a day after authorities announced the capture of Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, a senior al-Qaeda suspect, and described the arrest as "a major blow" to Osama bin Laden's terrorist network. Ghailani had been sought by the United States in connection with the 1998 bombing attacks on US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya." 

While in office, he had steered one of the biggest economic turnarounds in recent history, taking Pakistan from the brink of bankruptcy to a point where hope had overcome despair for a short period of time.

However, his privatisation and energy policies still remain extremely controversial in public circles. His Energy Policy had aimed at raising Pakistan's dependence on imported oil for power generation to 50 percent by 2030.

However, Aziz has pointed out repeatedly that his policies had made state institutions viable while they were on the verge of collapse.

In 2001, he was named Finance Minister of the Year by the globally-acclaimed "Euromoney" and "The Banker" magazines.

It is imperative to note that in an interview to the CNN in January 2012, Shaukat Aziz had remained pessimistic about Pakistan's approach to Free Trade Agreement with the United States by judging the current relations with the United States and economical challenges faced by the country. He had opined that it wasn't any easy road to tread despite the fact that the US Congress was very friendly.

During the course of his CNN interview, he had asserted: "Congress has approved other special market access programmes like this for Haiti and Jordan and maybe others. It was promised by the US five or six years ago but nothing happened."