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By Mehreen Zahra-Malik
ISLAMABAD, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Pakistan’s central bank governor, Yaseen Anwar, stepped down on Thursday, Finance Ministry officials said, with other officials citing policy differences between the governor and the finance minister.
Finance Ministry officials said one of Anwar’s two deputies would temporarily fill his post.
“Yaseen Anwar has resigned as governor of the State Bank of Pakistan,” said Finance Ministry spokesman Shafqat Jalil. “He has cited personal reasons for his decision.”
Last month, the IMF saved Pakistan from a possible default by agreeing to loan it $6.7 billion over three years after it promised to privatise loss-making state institutions, reform a faltering energy sector, expand Pakistan’s tiny tax base and cut government borrowing.
Pakistan’s economy has grown on average 3 percent a year for the last five years and is beset by high unemployment, frequent power cuts, sectarian bloodshed and a Taliban insurgency.
Senior officials in the foreign ministry said the “personal reasons” cited by the Finance Ministry for Anwar’s resignation were a cover for differences with finance minister Ishaq Dar.
“They have completely different views on how to tackle rising inflation and falling foreign exchange reserves,” said one official, requesting anonymity as he was not authorised to speak on the issue.
Another official said Anwar was unhappy with last week’s appointment of Saeed Ahmed as deputy governor of the central bank. One of Anwar’s two deputies, Ahmed and Ashraf Wathra, will assume acting control of the State Bank.
Anwar, 62, was the fourth central bank chief appointed under the previous Pakistan People’s Party government. His departure reflects the difficulties Pakistan has had in attracting and retaining qualified officials in government service.
He took the job in October 2011 when the previous governor resigned citing differences of opinion on policy. Anwar had previously served as the bank’s deputy governor.
He has 33 years’ of banking experience in cities including New York, London and Paris, and has worked at American banks JP Morgan, Bank of America and Merrill Lynch. (Editing by Robert Birsel and Hugh Lawson)