Home Latest News Former Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz Dies, Aged 94

Former Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz Dies, Aged 94

PMLN stalwart had also served as finance minister, when he backed economic liberalization

by Staff Report

File photo. Farooq Naeem—AFP

Former foreign minister Sartaj Aziz, who had also served as finance minister in multiple governments, passed away in Islamabad on Tuesday, announced the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz). He was 94.

“It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of Mr. Sartaj Aziz,” the party posted on its official X (formerly Twitter) account. “A stalwart, a true icon and a towering figure! His contributions to the nation and towards the party will never be forgotten. May he rest in peace and may he be granted the highest place in Jannah,” it added.

Born on Feb. 7, 1929 in Mardan, Aziz was a veteran of the Pakistan Movement. After Partition, he studied economics at the Punjab University, joining the civil service in 1950. During his service, he traveled to the U.S. to earn a master’s degree in development economics from Harvard University in 1963. After leaving the civil service in 1971, he joined the Food and Agriculture Organization and served as its director of Commodities, before moving to the International Fund for Agricultural Development as the assistant president of Policy and Planning from December 1977-April 1984.

After returning to Pakistan in 1984, Aziz served as a junior minister for Agriculture and Food Security until 1988, when he was elected to the Senate. In 1993, he was re-elected to the Senate on the PMLN’s ticket, and served as finance minister in Nawaz Sharif’s governments of 1990-1993 and 1997-1998, stepping down from the post over his opposition to the nuclear tests for “economic” reasons. He was subsequently appointed the foreign minister, a post he held until Pervez Musharraf’s coup.

Following the coup, he became the vice-chancellor of Beaconhouse National University in 2004, where he remained until 2013. During this time, he also authored Between Dreams and Realities. In 2013, when Sharif returned to power, he was appointed the adviser to the P.M. on foreign affairs, a post he continued in until July 2017, when was appointed the deputy chairman of the Planning Commission.

For his participation in the Pakistan Movement, Aziz is a holder of the Sanad, Mujahid-e-Pakistan. He was also awarded the Tamgha-e-Pakistan in 1959 and the Sitara-e-Khidmat in 1967.


Former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, in a posting on X, confirmed Aziz’s death and said Pakistan had lost one of its finest. “He lived a rare life of courage, dignity, and integrity; a life worth celebrating. He contributed and accomplished much; excelling at everything that he did. To all of us who worked with him he was an elder, a mentor, a friend, and a colleague,” he added.

PMLN Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal likewise described Aziz as a great asset for the nation. “He will be missed very much. His services for the nation will always be remembered. I had honor of working with him very closely and will never forget his affection and guidance,” he wrote on X, and prayed for God to bless to his soul.

In a statement, President Arif Alvi expressed his grief over the death of the former finance minister and conveyed his condolences to his family. Interim Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar also expressed his deep sorrow, describing the former minister as a “very intelligent” politician whose services to Pakistan would always be remembered.

PMLN spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb, in a statement on X, said Aziz’s contributions to Pakistan were immeasurable and his commitment to PMLN exemplary. “A celebrated national icon, one of the most brilliant policymakers, a dear friend, ally, adviser, and brother to Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif, Uncle Sartaj Aziz has sadly passed away,” she said. “He was an institution of public service and policy. It will take generations to fill the gap he leaves behind,” she added.

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