Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Digital Pakistan Tania Aidrus has resigned from her post amid growing criticism for holding dual citizenship.
“Growing criticism is a distraction to my ability to execute on the long-term vision for a Digital Pakistan. It is unfortunate that a Pakistani’s desire to serve Pakistan is clouded by such issues,” said Tania, who holds Canadian and Singaporean nationality, in her resignation letter.
Furthermore, she stated that her Canadian nationality was a consequence of her birth and “not an acquisition of choice”.
TANIA & TAREEN:
According to media reports, appointments of Tania and Khurram Jamali, who formerly worked under Tania at Google, was facilitated by Jahangir Khan Tareen.
In April 2020 when the sugar scandal rose its ugly head and a subsequent probe into it led to the damning report that said Tareen prioritised his sugar mills over national interest, PM Imran Khan was disillusioned.
This led to a rift between the premier and Tareen, who, according to reports, are no longer on talking terms.
While Tareen has left the country for the time being and does not hold any direct or indirect power in the government, people cannot help drawing links between the rift and Tania’s resignation.
DIGITAL PAKISTAN INITIATIVE AND DIGITAL PAKISTAN FOUNDATION CONFLICT:
Despite the existence of Digital Pakistan Initiative, Tania formed a nonprofit organisation called Digital Pakistan Foundation to attract foreign expatriates and talent to facilitate the digitisation process in Pakistan.
According to Tania, the government’s Digital Pakistan Initiative had no Federal Budget assigned to it, neither was it under the ambit of the Ministry of Information Technology (IT) or Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST), leaving it stalled and dry.
However, reports say, Shabahat Ali Shah, the chief executive officer (CEO) of the National IT Board (NITB), and Tania were not getting along well since day one.
Both Shah and Tania were working for the IT Ministry and there had been an overlap of their work, leading to turf wars.
Taking advantage of Tania’s vulnerability, Shah allegedly want her sacked as the SAPM. To that end, the Digital Pakistan Foundation scandal was reportedly intentionally hyped up and leaked to a journalist, whose thread about the scandal was later picked up by various media outlets.
Meanwhile, Tania says she will continue serving in Pakistan through public and private initiatives and will always be available for the cause of ‘Naya Pakistan’.