- Govt had previously defended appointment of noted economist, who is an Ahmadi
- Fawad Ch says govt wants to take religious scholars, social groups on board over matters of national harmony
- Another EAC member Asim Ijaz Khwaja resigns, says he cannot work ‘when such values are compromised’
ISLAMABAD: Despite earlier claims by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government that it would not succumb to the pressure of ‘extremists’, noted economist Atif R. Mian was on Friday ordered to step down from his advisory role in Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Economic Advisory Council (EAC).
PTI Senator Faisal Javed Khan said that Atif Mian was asked to step down from the Advisory Council and to which the economist has agreed to.
Atif Mian was asked to step down from the Advisory Council and he has agreed. A replacement would be announced later.
— Faisal Javed Khan (@FaisalJavedKhan) September 7, 2018
The PTI senator added that Mian had accepted to resign and that a replacement would be announced soon.
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 that he belonged to the minority Ahmadiyya community.
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 in a subsequent tweet.
حکومت نے فیصلہ کیا ہے کہ عاطف میاں کی اقتصادی مشاورتی کمیٹی سے نامزدگی واپس لے لی جائے،حکومت علماء اور تمام معاشرتی طبقات کو ساتھ لے کر ہی آگے بڑھنا چاہتی ہے اور اگر ایک نامزدگی سے مختلف تاثر پیدا ہوتا ہے تو یہ مناسب نہیں۔
— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) September 7, 2018
“Prime Minister Imran Khan considers the State of Madina as an ideal. All members of the cabinet are lovers of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). The Finality of Prophethood is an integral part of our belief,” he tweeted further.
عمران خان کا آئیڈیل ریاست مدینہ ہے، اور وزیر اعظم اور ان کی کابینہ کے اراکین عاشقان رسول کریم صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم ہیں۔ ختم نبوت ہمارے ایمان کا حصہ ہے اور حال ہی میں گستاخانہ خاکوں کے معاملے پر حکومت نے جو کامیابی حاصل کی وہ بھی اسی نسبت کا اظہار ہے۔
— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) September 7, 2018
However, Special Assistant to Prime Minister of Pakistan on Media Iftikhar Durrani termed the decision unanimous and added Mian was feeling “uncomfortable” due to the controversy surrounding his nomination.
The special assistant further claimed that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led government and the Princeton economist mutually decided that he should withdraw from the post.
Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Pakistan Spokesman Saleemuddin, however, said the community would always be ready to offer its services to the country.
“The government has a right to utilise anyone’s abilities for development of the nation. Love for our country is an integral part of an Ahmadi’s faith and we are always ready to serve our country in any way possible. Our prayers & best wishes are for Pakistan and a prosperous future of the country.”
Government has a right to utilise anyone’s abilities for the development of the nation. Love for our country is an integral part of an Ahmadi’s faith & we are always ready to serve our country in any way possible. Our prayers & best wishes for Pakistan & it’s future prosperity.
— Saleem ud Din (@SaleemudDinAA) September 7, 2018
On Thursday, a large number of PTI supporters, mostly women from different non-government organisations (NGOs), along with common citizens held a protest demonstration outside the Lahore Press Club against Mian’s appointment.
The PTI government had previously defended Mian’s appointment.
“He [Atif R Mian] is a person revered worldwide and a favourite to win the Nobel Peace Prize within the next five years,” Chaudhry had said earlier this week.
“We have appointed him as a member of the Economic Advisory Council, not the Council of Islamic Ideology so the criticism is hardly justified.”
“Should we throw minorities out of the country? Atif is part of our economic council. The world is raving about him. People who say negative things about minorities are extremists. Every Muslim has a duty to protect minorities.”
“Pakistan belongs to non-Muslims as equally as it belongs to the majority Muslims,” he stressed.
Before joining the EAC, Mian served as professor of Economics, Public Policy and Finance at Princeton University, the director of the Julis-Rabinowitz Center for Public Policy and Finance at the Woodrow Wilson School and the only Pakistani to be considered among International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) ‘top 25 brightest young economists’.
ANOTHER EAC MEMBER RESIGNS:
Another member of PM Khan’s economic council resigned soon after the government made Mian step down. Asim Ijaz Khwaja said he was also resigning amid the pressure, adding that he cannot work when such values are compromised.
Have resigned from EAC. Painful, deeply sad decision. Grateful for chance to aid analytical reasoning but not when such values compromised. Personally as a Muslim I can’t justify this. May Allah forgive/guide me&us all.Ever ready to help.Pakistan Paindabadhttps://t.co/j80LHEhfRK
— Asim Ijaz Khwaja (@aikhwaja) September 7, 2018
In his Twitter message, he said, “(I) have resigned from EAC. Painful, deeply sad decision. Grateful for (the) chance to aid analytical reasoning but not when such values compromised. Personally, as a Muslim, I can’t justify this. May Allah forgive/guide me and us all. Ever ready to help. Pakistan Paindabad”
He regretted the PTI government’s choice of asking Mian to step down.
SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN:
A vicious campaign against his appointment swept social media as well as many criticised the government for appointing an Ahmadi at a senior post.
Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Shehla Raza and members of other religious parties also voiced their opposition to the move, although Raza later backtracked from her comments.
A number of journalists and members of the public had voiced their support for Mian’s appointment as well.
Members of the Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz (PML-N), Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) and the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party members have recently supported the submission of a call-to-attention notice in Senate over the matter.
The PPP, however, did not participate in the process, explaining that it did not wish to participate in targeting someone on the basis of religion alone.
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