— While Tania Aidrus has resigned amid criticism for holding dual nationality, Dr Zafar Mirza has stepped down over ‘negative discussion about the role of SAPMs’
Dr Zafar Mirza and Tania Aidrus, special assistants to the prime minister (SAPM) on health and e-governance, respectively, stepped down from their posts on Wednesday.
The resignations come days after the Cabinet Division made public the details of the assets and dual nationalities of 20 advisers and special assistants, rocking the country’s political landscape.
In a tweet, Aidrus, the head of the much-touted Digital Pakistan Vision initiative, cited recent criticism levelled against her and the government due to her dual nationality as the reason behind her decision to resign.
“[The] criticism levied towards the state as a consequence of my citizenship status is clouding the purpose of Digital Pakistan,” she said, adding that she was resigning “in the greater public interest”.
In the resignation letter, Aidrus stated that she had returned to Pakistan with the “singular intent to contribute and develop the vision of a Digital Pakistan”.
“I always was and shall be a Pakistani,” she wrote, adding that “it is unfortunate that a Pakistani’s desire to serve Pakistan is clouded by such [dual nationality] issues”.
While the letter points to criticism on Aidrus’ foreign nationality being the chief reason for her resignation, reports say that the former Google executive was in fact forced to resign.
Meanwhile, Mirza also took to Twitter to announce stepping down.
He said that he had come to Pakistan on the personal invitation of the premier after leaving the World Health Organization (WHO).
“I worked hard and honestly. It was a privilege to serve Pakistan. I am satisfied that I leave at a time when COVID-19 has declined in Pakistan as a result of a grand national effort,” Mirza said.
He added that he had made the decision over the “negative discussion about the role of SAPMs and criticism of the government”.
“Pakistani people deserve better healthcare. I have worked sincerely to contribute to this cause. Pakistan will Inshallah emerge out of COVID-19 with a stronger healthcare system.”
While PM Imran has not yet accepted the resignations, rumour has it that another aide of his will shortly be resigning.