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Pakistan's privatisation tsar embarks on quest to revive economy

Published on Feb 3, 2014 6:41 AM
 

ISLAMABAD (REUTERS) - Mohammad Zubair was on a cruise dinner with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Thailand when he was offered the hardest job of his life: privatising a huge chunk of the economy while fighting resistance from the opposition and trade unions.

When the prime minister left the table, a colleague of former IBM executive Zubair rushed to his side.

"Are you mad? Three privatisation ministers have gone to jail and most have corruption cases hanging over their heads," he said. "Don't take this job."

But Pakistan's new privatisation tsar is determined to find buyers for 68 public companies, most of them loss-making, including two gas companies, an oil company, about 10 banks, the national airline and power distribution companies - all within the next two years.

 
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