Ahsan Iqbal defends PTI for picking Atif Mian in economic council


Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader and former minister Ahsan Iqbal has defended the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) for picking Dr Atif R Mian in the Economic Advisory Council (EAC) comprising world-renowned economists to ensure the availability of best possible professional advice to the government on economic policies.

In a tweet on Tuesday, Iqbal said, “Islam upholds principle of merit. Therefore, merit should not be mixed with religion. Talent and competency are most sought after commodity today.”

Reacting to the criticism faced by the ruling party from far-right groups, the former minister advised against mixing merit with religion.

Ahsan has himself been a victim of religious extremism. He had escaped an assassination attempt when he was attacked and injured after an assailant opened fire at him during a corner meeting of the party in Narowal’s Kanjroor area.

Earlier, Federal Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry also defended notable economist Mian’s induction into the EAC reconstituted by Prime Minister Imran Khan last week.

While addressing media, Chaudhry slammed Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Shehla Raza’s tweet opposing the induction of minorities in the EAC.

“I don’t know where is all this coming from. How can you justify the persecution of religious minorities and their rights in Pakistan? What kind of people are those who are levelling these accusations?”

The minister added: “He [Atif R Mian] is a person revered worldwide and a favourite to win the Nobel Peace Prize within the next five years.”

The social media users on Twitter applauded Chaudhary’s statement and praised the PTI government for a strong stand.

Mian is the first and only person of Pakistani origins to have been named on the IMF’s list of ‘top 25 brightest young economists.’