Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Zafar Mirza also resigned from the cabinet after Tania Aidrus citing the “ongoing negative discussion about the role of SAPMs and criticism on the government” as the reason for his decision.
The announcements from the two senior government functionaries came after severe criticism from the opposition parties over PTI’s performance and dual nationalities of PM’s special assistants.
The prime minister have accepted their resignations and two notifications in this regard have been issued by the Cabinet Division.
In a series of tweets on Wednesday, SAPM Mirza stated that he came to “Pakistan on a personal invitation of Prime Minister Imran Khan after leaving the WHO. I worked hard & honestly. It was a privilege to serve Pakistan.”
Mirza said that he was satisfied that he was leaving at a time when COVID-19 has declined in Pakistan as a result of a grand national effort.
According to Geo News, Zafar Mirza was asked to resign over his alleged role in allowing the import of medicines from India and recent hike in prices of drugs.
Earlier, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Digital Pakistan Tania Aidrus announced that she has submitted her resignation to PM Imran Khan in “greater public interest” over her “citizenship” status.
“Criticism levied towards the state as a consequence of my citizenship status is clouding the purpose of Digital Pakistan,” tweeted Aidrus along with her resignation letter to the prime minister.
She added that she has submitted her resignation in the “greater public interest” and will continue to serve the Country and the PM’s vision to the “best” of her ability.
Aidrus in her resignation letter to the prime minister said it had been an honour and privilege to serve.
“I returned to Pakistan with the singular intent to contribute and develop the vision of a Digital Pakistan, a concept which you have always voiced and I share,” she said.
She added, “I always was and shall be a Pakistani.”
“I believe the recent discourse in the public sphere about my Canadian nationality, which is a consequence of my birth and not an acquisition of choice, is a distraction to my ability to execute on the long term vision for a Digital Pakistan,” she said.
“It is unfortunate that a Pakistani’s desire to serve Pakistan is clouded by such issues. I shall continue to serve your vision and Pakistan through initiatives both in the private and public domain, where possible,” she added.
Conflict of interest
Quoting sources close to the prime minister, senior anchorperson Hamid Mir said there was a conflict of interest issue with Tania Aidrus, which she had failed to defend before the officials.
He said Aidrus had reportedly established an NGO, the Digital Pakistan Foundation, which was not in the knowledge of the concerned authorities.
However, while she was not drawing any monetary benefits from it, the NGO was a matter of conflict of interest, Mir said. Aidrus was also under pressure from her family to quit after the controversy over her dual nationality erupted.
Earlier this month, the government had released the details of assets and nationalities of special assistants and advisers to Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Since then, her Canadian citizenship has been a matter of debate in the political circles and opposition lawmakers have questioned the presence of dual nationals in the Federal Cabinet.
According to the information made available to the public on Cabinet Division’s website, four special assistants to the prime minister hold dual nationalities, including Nadeem Babar (US), Syed Zulfiqar Bukhari (UK), Shahzad Qasim (US) and Tania Aidrus (Canada).
As per the details shared by Tania Aidrus, she has four immovable properties held outside Pakistan — two in the US and one each in the UK and Singapore — which when converted to Pakistani rupees, have a value of Rs452.69 million. The properties in Singapore and the US are under the 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 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.
She owns a car, Toyota Fortuner, and jewellery worth Rs5 million, the documents revealed.
She also has permanent residency in Singapore.