Two special assistants to Pak PM resign

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Intl desk, July 29: In the backdrop of great public scrutiny, Tania Aidrus and Dr Zafar Mirza on Wednesday said that they have resigned from their posts as the special assistants to the Pakistan Prime Minister (SAPM) Imran Khan on Digital Pakistan and National Health, respectively.

The resignations have been accepted by the prime minister, reports Geo TV.

The announcement came amid criticism levelled against several special assistants and advisers over possession of dual citizenship and after the list of assets they own was made public by the government.

Ex-Google executive Aidrus, in a post on Twitter, said she was resigning “in the greater public interest” after she faced criticism for holding a Canadian nationality.

“Criticism levied towards the state as a consequence of my citizenship status is clouding the purpose of Digital Pakistan. In the greater public interest, I have submitted my resignation from the SAPM role. I will continue to serve my country and the PM’s vision to my best ability,” Aidrus tweeted.

Aidrus, in her resignation letter to the prime minister, said it had been an “honour and privilege: to serve him.

“I returned to Pakistan with the singular intent to contribute and develop the vision of a Digital Pakistan, a conept which you have always voiced and I share,” she said.

“I always was and shall be a Pakistani,” Aidrus said.

The former special assistant said that she believes that the recent discourse about her Canadian nationality — which she said is a consequence of her birth — “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,” Aidrus remarked.

“I shall continue to serve your vision and Pakistan through initiatives both in the private and public domain, where possible,” she added.

According to details released by the government earlier this month, Aidrus has four immovable properties held outside Pakistan — two in the US and one each in the UK and Singapore. The properties when converted to Pakistani rupees have a value of Rs452.69 million. The properties in Singapore and US are under mortgage.

The premier’s aide has no property within Pakistan.

She has an investment in a venture capital worth Rs12.51 million and has declared remittances from foreign account to Pakistan worth $95,790.

Aidrus also has a bank balance in various accounts both in Pakistan and abroad worth Rs34.39 million, whereas her husband has cash in the bank worth Rs9.29 million in foreign accounts, the documents revealed.

Dr Zafar Mirza tenders resignation

Moments after Aidrus resigned, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza said he has tendered his resignation from the post today.

The SAPM did not divulge further details regarding his resignation but hoped that the coronavirus pandemic will continue to decline in the country.

“Due to ongoing negative discussion about the role of SAPMs & criticism on the gov, I choose to resign. Pakistani people deserve a better health care.”

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