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Special Assistants to PM, Dr Zafar Mirza and Tania Aidrus resign

– Resignations have been accepted by the Prime Minister
ISLAMABAD, July 29: In the backdrop of great public scrutiny over the matter of dual nationalities held by cabinet members, Tania Aidrus and Dr Zafar Mirza on Wednesday said that they have resigned from their posts as the special assistants to the prime minister (SAPM) on Digital Pakistan and National Health, respectively.
The resignations have been accepted by the prime minister.
The announcement came amid criticism levelled against several special assistants over possession of dual citizenship and after the list of assets they own was made public by the government.
Ex-Google executive Aidrus, in a post on Twitter, said she was resigning “in the greater public interest” after she faced criticism for holding a Canadian nationality.
“Criticism levied towards the state as a consequence of my citizenship status is clouding the purpose of Digital Pakistan. In the greater public interest, I have submitted my resignation from the SAPM role,” she wrote on Twitter.
“I will continue to serve my country and the PM’s vision to my best ability,” she added.
In her resignation letter to the prime minister, Aidrus said it had been an “honour and privilege” to serve him. “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.
“I always was and shall be a Pakistani,” she added.
The former special assistant said that she believes that the recent discourse about her Canadian nationality – which she said is a consequence of her birth – “is a distraction to my ability to execute on the long term vision for a Digital Pakistan”.
“It is unfortunate that a Pakistani’s desire to serve Pakistan is clouded by such issues,” Aidrus remarked.
“I shall continue to serve your vision and Pakistan through initiatives both in the private and public domain, where possible,” she added.
Former special assistant to prime minister on digital Pakistan Tania Aidrus (L) and former special assistant to prime minister on national health Dr Zafar Mirza. Geo.tv/Files
According to details released by the government earlier this month, Aidrus has four immovable properties held outside Pakistan – two in the US and one each in the UK and Singapore.
The properties, when converted to Pakistani rupees, have a value of Rs452.69 million. The ones in Singapore and the US are under mortgage.
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 also 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, the documents revealed.
Moments after Aidrus resigned, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza said he has tendered his resignation from the post today.
The SAPM did not divulge further details regarding his resignation but said he is “satisfied to leave at a time when COVID-19 has declined in Pakistan as a result of a grand national effort”.
In a subsequent tweet, Dr Mirza explained that “due to the ongoing negative discussion about the role of [special assistants] and criticism on the [government], I choose to resign. Pakistani people deserve a better health care.”
He said he has “worked sincerely to contribute to this cause” and expressed confidence that the country will “emerge out of COVID-19 with a stronger health care system”.
Dr Mirza owns assets worth Rs50.7 million, including a house worth Rs20 million and two plots worth Rs30 million. His wife has jewelry of approximately Rs2 million and the family owns furniture worth approximately Rs2 million. His cash at bank accounts exceeds Rs1.3 million. He has no other nationality. Separately, sources informed Wednesday evening that according to certain documents, Dr Mirza had played a role in illegally importing drugs from India despite a ban. He, alongside another adviser, were named during an inquiry carried out on the prime minister’s orders. – DNA

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