ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, the man charged with steering Pakistans economy, has wide financial and management experience and is likely to focus on tight fiscal discipline as inflation remains a threat. Shaikh, a former privatisation minister, will be put to the test as Pakistans weak government attempts to energise a struggling economy battered by a Taliban militant insurgency and starved of foreign investment. He must also try to strike a balance between policy demands by the International Monetary Fund, which provides critical financial support for Pakistan, and the governments desire not to alienate voters who could be hurt by those policies. Shaikhs background as a general partner in the growth capital company New Silk Route Partners, which focuses on private equity opportunities across Asia and the Middle East, suggests he will pay close attention to market needs. He understands the local economy and also has the skills to negotiate with the IMF and other bilateral and multilateral donors, said Asad Iqbal, managing director at Ismail Iqbal Securities Ltd. Having served as World Bank country head in Saudi Arabia, Shaikh will be in tune with what Pakistan needs to do to secure sustained international financial support raising taxes, taming inflation and generating more revenue to meet expenditure. In order for state finances to flow smoothly, Shaikh also needs the support of Pakistans all-powerful military, which consumes a major part of the state budget. Respected former finance minister Shaukat Tarins resignation announced last month raised speculation he was caught between the demands of the IMF, whose assistance depends on reforms, and the government. Tarin negotiated an IMF emergency loan package of $7.6 billion in November 2008 to avert a balance of payments crisis. The IMF increased the loan to $11.3 billion in July. Investors may be comforted by his role as an adviser to countries in mostly Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, and his leadership of privatisation teams in telecommunications, aviation, banking and manufacturing. But there are plenty of challenges at home, including chronic energy shortages and a fight between the government and insurgents, which have eroded investor confidence.