The resignation of Dr Zafar Mirza, the Special Assistant to PM on Health earlier today came as a shock to many Pakistanis. Only a few days ago, Mirza was addressing news conferences and giving advice against the coronavirus, and today he announced his resignation.
The curious aspect of the whole fiasco is that, while announcing his resignation, Mirza made two contradictory statements regarding Pakistan’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. On one end, Zafar proudly declared, “I am satisfied that I leave at a time when COVID-19 has declined in Pakistan as a result of a grand national effort” but on the other end, Mirza commented, “Pakistani people deserve a better healthcare”.
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. I have worked sincerely to contribute to this cause. 🇵🇰 will Inshallah emerge out of COVID-19 with a stronger hlth care system.
— Zafar Mirza (@zfrmrza) July 29, 2020
Malik has resigned at a time when the government was receiving harsh criticism for its appointment of individuals with dual nationalities as Special Assistants and advisors. Alongside him, Tania Aidrus, the SAPM on Digital Pakistan, also tendered in her resignation citing the opposition to their nationalities.
However, while many bemoaned the opposition for causing this, some Twitter users believe there may be another reason for their resignation, especially given Mirza’s contradictory statements.
— Andrea Rose (@Andyrockz2012) July 29, 2020
The allegation is compounded by the fact that other Special Assistants, such as Nadeem Babar, who have been wrapped in controversy in the past, did not tender in their resignations.
Regardless of the reasoning, however, the indisputable fact is that Pakistan has once again let go of highly qualified individuals who came to Pakistan to try and bring about a change. One is reminded of the federal government’s treatment of other qualified individuals such as Atif Mian, an MIT-graduate who was removed from an Economic Advisory Council due to his religious affiliation.