By Qudssia Akhlaque
SHARM EL SHEIKH (Egypt): Former prime minister Shaukat Aziz who is also here to attend the World Economic Forum on the Middle East sounded upbeat on on Monday about the fact that he is getting royal treatment by his hosts even though he is no longer the head of government in Pakistan.
In a brief chat with Pakistani journalists in the presence of Pakistan’s outgoing ambassador to Egypt Arif Ayub, he revealed that during his stay here he had been given a private jet through the courtesy of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. He then went on to add, “Even though I’m no longer the prime minister I have been given full protocol with pilot etc. I told them there was no need but they insisted.” He said he would travel to Cairo on Tuesday in the private jet.
On Sunday Shaukat Aziz also had a brief interaction with Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani at a dinner hosted by the Kazakh president. He again ran into the prime minister at a hotel on Monday where he had gone for a bilateral meeting. “He (Gilani) is a very sweet man and he embraced me both the times we met,” Aziz said.
The former prime minister also talked about the special treatment he was given during a recent trip to Indonesia. He also mentioned that he would soon be going to Malaysia and Singapore for an Economic Forum.
Shaukat Aziz was one of the panelists along with the World Bank President, Chairman Middle East Business Council and a business leader from Kuwait at the World Economic Forum on Monday. Speaking on the ‘Global Financial System’ he declared: “Sovereign funds are a good thing.
The concern on sovereign funds is thoroughly overstated.” His view was that the fundamental cause of weak financial system is poor risk management. Prominent among those who attended this session titled ‘Committed to Improving the State of the World,’ were Governor State Bank of Pakistan Dr Shamshad Akhtar and Shaukat’s former cabinet member Hina Rabbani Khar, who has now joined the PPP and is Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Finance and Economic Affairs, and Begum Shahnaz Wazir Ali, Special Assistant to PM on Social Sector. All three occupied seat in the front row of the hall.
Source: The News, 20/5/2008