Pakistan has appointed a new acting minister of finance- Abdul Hafeez Shaikh. His title will be "chief of the Finance Ministry". He wasn't appointed "minister" because he isn't yet a member of parliament, so presumably the "chief" title is a way of getting around the law until a willing constituency can be found.

Finance Chief Shaikh

Past finance ministers have also had a knack for law-avoidance. Shaukat Aziz, the finance minister from 1999-2007 left a sparkling career at Citibank's New York office to take up the drudgery of public service. The only odd thing about his departure was its timing: he left when Citi NYC was being investigated for laundering Mexican drug money.

Yeah, that bad. An unusually large surplus (US$ 3 billion) at the Dallas Federal Reserve helped law enforcement uncover a laundering ring. During the investigation, Citibank's alleged money-laundering on behalf of the (then) Mexican first family, Raul and Carlos Salinas, were of particular interest to the congressional committee.

Former Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz

Shaukat went on to become Pakistan's prime minister- and the first one to complete a full term in office.

Since Shaukat's advancement, the position of "finance minister" has been a hot potato. His successor, Ishaq Dar, lasted less than two months. The following minister, Naveed Qamar, did better with five months' tenure.

Shaukat Turin was the next man to hold office more than half a year. Turin, who is also a veteran of Citibank, seems to have had less finesse than his predecessor Aziz. He wasn't a member of parliament when he was appointed as an adviser to the government, but that was fixed by July 2009. Seven months later he resigned.

So, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh- who is described as a non-controversial World Bank technocrat- has big oven-mits to fill. I'm sure Mr. Geithner feels his pain.

-- Evie