Atif Mian’s removal: Govt slammed for ‘succumbing to bigotry’


Social media users on Friday called out the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government for “succumbing to bigotry” following the government’s decision of removing Atif R Mian from the Economic Advisory Council (EAC) due to his Ahmadi faith.

Atif Mian was included in the EAC constituted by Prime Minister Imran Khan to help manage the crippling economic crisis. However, calls to have him sacked grew louder once it was revealed he belonged to the minority Ahmadiyya community.

Earlier in the day, PTI Senator and Chairman Standing Committee on Information Broadcasting & Heritage, Faisal Javed Khan tweeted Friday morning, “Atif Mian was asked to step down from the Advisory Council and he has agreed. A replacement would be announced later.”

Later in the day, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry confirmed that Mian had been asked to step down. Chaudhry explained that the decision to remove him from the post was taken to “avoid creating divisions”.
“The government has decided to withdraw Atif Mian’s nomination for the EAC,” he tweeted.

“The government wants to ensure religious scholars and social groups are on board and it is not appropriate if one single nomination prevents that from happening,” he added.


Commenting on the development, Journalist Shaheryar Mirza said, “Atif Mian was not ‘asked to step down and he agreed’ but Atif Mian was forced out because @PTIofficial doesn’t have the guts to stand up to bigots”.

— Shaheryar Mirza (@mirza9) September 7, 2018

Journalist Sabahat Zakariya slammed the government for caving to “religious gangsters”.

“Time and again social justice warriors like me are confronted with the haunting question: what’s the point? This country doesn’t give a f**k for being good or just, it’s only interest is in capitulation to religious gangsters,” she tweeted.

Ahmer Naqvi, pop culture writer and creative head of a video content generation platform, referred to Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, “who betrayed his own party’s secular and socialist ambitions by constitutionally redefining the status of the Ahmadiyya community as non-Muslims”.

“Yeah we all know zinda Bhutto made this law, and no party has ever amended it. But this is twice now that the PTI has humiliated itself and let down Atif Mian. Use your unending righteous fury towards protesting this idiotic move. Wasn’t PTI’s government the long-awaited dawn of meritocracy?” he remarked.


Journalist Gul Bukhari tweeted, “This principled statement of support will forever remain a slap in the face of Imran Khan the coward, who first carried out a dishonest khatm e nabuwat campaign against the PMLN, and has now fired Atif Mian because he is Ahmadi.”

Writer Bina Shah lamented the government’s decision to remove a qualified academic from its economic advisory panel.

“Really wish I hadn’t woken up to this news. Atif Mian would have given the country superb economic guidance. I guess they didn’t want another Nobel Prize winner who they could ignore and ostracize – one is already too many,” she tweeted.

Umar Cheema referred to Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry’s earlier statement that this religious bigotry against an able and potential Noble Peace Prize candidate is unjustifiable.

“Bigotry prevails, finally. #PTI couldn’t stand the ground,” he tweeted.


Satirist and columnist Nadeem Farooq Paracha played on PTI’s slogan of “tabdeeli”.

“Didn’t take much for ‘tabdeeli’ to succumb to bigotry. Back to square one. The same old fears and politics prevail in Naya Pakistan. What an anti-climax,” He tweeted.

Ammar Rashid, researcher and political worker, condemned the government for succumbing to pressure and added that it did not speak well for the rights of minorities in the country.

“[They] couldn’t withstand the pressure from the Mullahs for 3 days. This is a scary indication of the times to come,” he remarked.

Couldnt withstand the pressure from the Mullahs for 3 days. Scary indication of the times to come.

— Ammar Rashid (@AmmarRashidT) September 7, 2018

Meena Gabeena, a human rights activist, tweeted: “The Pakistani state just took away a man’s job because of his religion. In other countries, when Muslims protest when they face racism by people, they should not forget how Muslim states treat people of their own country if they consider them non-Muslims. Interference of religion in state affairs creates inequality.”

Economics Professor at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business Austan Goolsbee also responded to the incident. “They drove @AtifRMian off their economic advisory council?! Are they nuts?” he asked on Twitter.

“An honourable action. The Pakistani government’s disinvite of Atif R Mian not only deprives it of top talent, it also reinforces religious bigotry,” said Dani Rodrik, an Economist at the Harvard Kennedy School.


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