Tania Aidrus and Dr Zafar Mirza have been sacked, as media claims quoting sources, while they themselves claim that they extended resignation over a range of criticism. It is worth mentioning here that one is a former Google executive and the other has served on a notable position at headquarters of the World Health Organisation in Switzerland.
The de facto health minister had been spearheading Pakistan’s battle against Coronavirus, since inception of the disease in the country. He “resigned” at a time when COVID-19 may see another spike as two main events – Eid ul Adha and Ashura – are just around the corner, which see large Muslim gatherings.
The sources within the ruling party claim that Tania Aidrus and Dr Zafar Mirza were removed from their posts for their alleged involvement in embezzlement.
Earlier, Firdous Ashiq Awan, who had been defending her party on every front, was forced to step down as SAPM over some allegations. However, after she was gone no inquiry could so far been conducted against her. So seems the case with the recent resignations as well. One wonders that is it enough to change someone’s position or remove them if they are found embroiled in misappropriation of funds or misuse of authority. Should they not be punished for their misconduct?
Zafar Mirza is alleged of importing those life-saving medicines from India which were already available in the country, which eventually rose drug prices. He is also alleged of failure to appoint heads of hospitals and medical centers of Islamabad. He is blamed for failure to control drug prices as prices for medicines rose for five times in two years. Sources also say that another advisor is on the chopping block now in the related matters.
While, Tania Aidrus and Jahangir Tareen had established an NGO ‘Digital Pakistan’ and she could not give satisfactory replies to PM Imran about it. The setting up of this company is being seen as sheer conflict of interest. The former assistant also holds three nationalities, including Canadian and Singaporean, over which some segments expressed their reservations.
Senior journalist Sohail Warraich believes that it is not performance that led to removal of aides, but it is independent or difference of opinion with the prime minister. Contrary to Imran Khan’s opinion, he said, Zafar Mirza wanted that pharmaceutical companies should be made autonomous in raising medicine prices.
On the flip side, Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry said that the National Information Technology Board (NITB) was doing the same job, what Tania Aidrus was doing, therefore she might have thought to leave the post. While, he said, the PM was not satisfied with the performance of Zafar.
Pakistan Muslim League-N leader Muhammed Zubair said that whenever a member of opposition party was alleged for something, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) came into action right away, while when someone from the ruling party was alleged of graft, no action was taken. He expressed the fear that both the special assistants would leave the country and nobody would bother to place their names on the Exit Control List (ECL).
Zubair said they wanted to know from the government, precisely on what reasons they were removed.
PTI leader Waleed Iqbal is adamant that the removal of assistants was an internal matter.