Dr Zafar Mirza, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health on Sunday said that “He holds all the judges of the SC in the highest esteem”. Dr Mirza also presented the achievements of his government in the fight against COVID-19.
In a three-part tweet, Dr Mirza said that he “Strongly condemn(ed) the recent social media campaign against the judiciary” and promised to do all he could to assist the honourable court [and] shall continue to work to serve the people to the best of his ability.
“I have the highest respect and regard for the Hon’ble Chief Justice of Pakistan i.e. Justice Gulzar Ahmed, who is well known for his integrity, competence & patriotism & I hold all the Judges of the SC in the highest esteem,” the SAPM said.
I have the highest respect & regard for the Hon’ble Chief Justice of Pakistan i.e. Justice Gulzar Ahmed, who is well known for his integrity, competence & patriotism & I hold all the Judges of the SC in the highest esteem. <284>
— Zafar Mirza (@zfrmrza) April 19, 2020
Dr Mirza further stated that “Pakistan’s response to the current health crisis is amongst the best responses in the world from both disease control and social mitigation perspectives. Let’s continue to keep it this way.”
Despite growing number of cases & unfortunate deaths, Pakistan Alhamdolilah has amongst the best responses in the world from both disease control and social mitigation perspectives. Let’s continue to keep it this way. See the graph below: pic.twitter.com/gC9U0KSLAx
— Zafar Mirza (@zfrmrza) April 19, 2020
It is important to recall that Prime Minister Imran Khan has ordered the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to hold an inquiry into propaganda against the chief justice and judiciary on social platforms. PM Imran Khan said that strict legal action should be taken against the persons for running the anti-judiciary campaign.
Happy to see that PM @ImranKhanPTI has the same stance on suo moto notices by present CJP Gulzar Ahmad.
As he had for those by former CJP Saqib Nisar.
Abusing judiciary was unjust then. And is also unjustified now.
— Mona Alam (@MonaAlamm) April 15, 2020
The court is hearing a suo motu case related to the situation arising out of the coronavirus crisis and the steps being taken by the federal government to curb the spread of the epidemic.
A five-member larger bench of the apex court — headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Gulzar Ahmed — is hearing the case. Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel, Justice Sajjad Ali Shah and Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin Ahmed are also on the bench.
During the hearing, on last Monday, CJP Ahmed remarked that the government had not done anything at this point to stem the spread of the virus. “There is an army of ministers and advisors in place but no work is being done,” CJP Ahmed observed. He also alleged that ‘corrupt people’ have been kept as advisors in the government.
However, the World Health Organization (WHO) has termed Pakistan’s measures against COVID-19 outbreak as ‘timely’ and the ‘best national response’. The Country Head of the WHO Dr Palitha Gunarathna Mahipala, while talking to media in Karachi during his visit to various hospitals and testing labs, said, “At a time when other countries were reporting cases, Pakistan was keeping the virus at bay, which is something quite praiseworthy.”
The CJP also questioned the credentials of Dr Zafar Mirza and ordered the removal of the special assistant.
Dr Zafar Mirza is a medical doctor with post-graduation in Public Health in Developing Countries from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and a clinical stint in mental health. He has served as the Director of Healthcare System Development at the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean. Dr Mirza is also a founder Executive Director of a civil society organization – The Network for Consumer Protection in Pakistan.
Some users on social media used inappropriate language to criticize the court’s observation and verbal order to remove Dr Mirza. It captured the attention of the PM office. However, it is maintained that people have a right to disagree with the court’s decisions and may express the same in public but with appropriate manner.