News Analysis |
The ruling Pakistan Tehrek-e-Insaf (PTI) government has bowed down to the intense pressure to replace the renowned US-based economist Atif Mian—who is an Ahmadi from the newly constituted Economic Advisory Council (EAC). PTI’s senator Faisal Javed Khan announced the decision on social media. In a tweet, he confirmed the development and said that “Atif Mian was asked to step down from the Advisory Council and he has agreed. A replacement would be announced later”.
Atif Mian was asked to step down from the Advisory Council and he has agreed. A replacement would be announced later.
— Faisal Javed Khan (@FaisalJavedKhan) September 7, 2018
Less than an hour later, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry took to Twitter and said, “The government wants to move forward alongside scholars and all social groups, and it is inappropriate if a single nomination creates an impression to the contrary. “
حکومت نے فیصلہ کیا ہے کہ عاطف میاں کی اقتصادی مشاورتی کمیٹی سے نامزدگی واپس لے لی جائے،حکومت علماء اور تمام معاشرتی طبقات کو ساتھ لے کر ہی آگے بڑھنا چاہتی ہے اور اگر ایک نامزدگی سے مختلف تاثر پیدا ہوتا ہے تو یہ مناسب نہیں۔
— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) September 7, 2018
“Khatm-i-Nabuwwat [belief in the finality of the prophet hood] is a part of our faith and the recent success achieved by the government in the matter of blasphemous sketches is reflective of the same connection,” he wrote in another tweet.
عمران خان کا آئیڈیل ریاست مدینہ ہے، اور وزیر اعظم اور ان کی کابینہ کے اراکین عاشقان رسول کریم صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم ہیں۔ ختم نبوت ہمارے ایمان کا حصہ ہے اور حال ہی میں گستاخانہ خاکوں کے معاملے پر حکومت نے جو کامیابی حاصل کی وہ بھی اسی نسبت کا اظہار ہے۔
— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) September 7, 2018
The government came under severe criticism for including Dr. Atif Mian of Princeton University (Department of Economics and Woodrow Wilson School of Public Policy), an Ahmadi economist, to EAC Amid the social media uproar against the appointment of the Ahmadi economist, PTI had shown some teeth refused to appease.
Fawad Chaudhary particularly faced the backlash from conservative and extremist quarters after his solid defense against the appointment. On Tuesday, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry showed defiance and vigorously defended his appointment and clarified that Pakistan belongs to the minorities as much as it belongs to the majority/others.
The panel includes the distinguished economists from around the world and a former governor of the State Bank of Pakistan.
While, defending the minorities in the country, Chaudhary asked. “Should we throw them out?” “What is wrong with the appointment of him as a member of the EAC? Pakistan belongs as much to minorities as it does to the majority,” He said in a press conference. Addressing the bigots, and extremists, he said, “It is not like, we have appointed him as a member of the Islamic Council.”
Quaid e Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah Appointed Sir ZafarUllah as Foreign minister of Pak, we ll follow Principles of Mr. Jinnah not of extremists https://t.co/wM5cnEl9cc
— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) September 4, 2018
Speaking about the credentials of the Princeton based economist—who is famous for his book ‘house of debt’ minister further said, “Atif Mian could be the recipient of Nobel peace prize in coming years. Therefore, PTI government does not see the reason to not appoint him.”
However, all this optimism could not last long amid threats of the march towards the twin city from the opportunist Islamic bigots. Earlier, PTI chairman had constituted the EAC comprising of eighteen members. The panel includes the distinguished economists from around the world and a former governor of the State Bank of Pakistan.
EAC is mandated to meet at least once a month to deliberate on the economic situation and advise the government on both short-term macroeconomic stabilization interventions and long-term structural reforms for stable and sustained economic development. EAC is assigned to facilitate the government in policy analysis and in reaching out to the international network of recognized economists to contribute to Pakistan’s development.
Mian’s appointment received a largely mixed response. Some politicians including former minister for planning Ahsan Iqbal praised the government for appointing credible individual on merit. Media pundits largely favored the appointment and praised the PTI government for showing defiance against the social media storm. TV and film personalities also appreciated the government for staying firm on its decision; however, continuous debate and negative publicity forced the government to ask Mian to step down.
PTI’s defiance was a welcome change from a party accused of bigotry. But the decision to of removing Atif Mian just shows that to accomplish Jinnah’s dream, PTI has a long way to go, to truly implement the vision of the father of the nation.
It’s the loss for a nation—when talented Pakistanis cannot be allowed to serve their homeland. Pakistan is the only country to have been created in the name of Islam. But, one must not forget, Christian organizations and activists along with others actively supported Jinnah in his great mission. After the inception of Pakistan in 1947, Jinnah repeatedly promised complete equality to the citizens. He famously said, “You are free; you are free to go to your temples; free to go to your mosques or to any other places of worship in the State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the state.”
Read more: The Economist declares Pakistan on track?
If the state had nothing to do with the religion, then why allow some extremists to dictate the state on how to conduct its affairs. PTI’s defiance was a welcome change from a party accused of bigotry. But the decision to of removing Atif Mian just shows that to accomplish Jinnah’s dream, PTI has a long way to go, to truly implement the vision of the father of the nation.