Muhammad Zubair Shahid
Tania Aidrus and Dr Zafar Mirza resigned from their offices of Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Digital Pakistan and National Health Services respectively. This development took place after the declaration of assets and nationalities of PMs special assistants and Advisors. PM Imran Khan has accepted the resignations and notification has been issued in this regard.
Tania Aidrus confirmed this development on her twitter account“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. I will continue to serve my country and the PM’s vision to my best ability”.
Shortly after the resignation of Tania Aidrus, Dr.Zafar Mirza also resigned form his portfolio and twitted“I have resigned as SAPM. I came to Pakistan on a personal invitation of @ImranKhanPTI leaving WHO. I worked hard & honestly. It was a privilege to serve Pakistan. I am satisfied that I leave at a time when COVID-19 has declined in as a result of a grand national effort”.
Tania Aidrus said in her statement that the resignation is as a result of criticism on the government due to her dual nationality. She came to Pakistan with a vision to transform the public sector governance into digital, robust, transparent and efficient system, but unfortunately her vision is clouded by such issues. Whereas, Dr. Zafar Mirza added in his resignation he could not implement his vision for the improvement of National Health Services due to redtapism and various other reasons in the public sector.
On the other hand, it has been learnt reliably that both SAPMs has been asked to step down form their positions. Tania Aidrus has formed a company named“Digital Pakistan Foundation” registered with SECP and had Tania on its board, she was drawing any financial benefit from the company. This company was registered just one week before her appointment as SAPM, which could have resulted in conflict of interest, she failed to satisfy PM in this regard and was asked to tender her resignation.
Dr. Zafar Mirza took the charge of his portfolio in April-2019. He has been accused of hiring his close friends on hefty salary packages into various organization, he failed to satisfy PM on the issue of medicines price hike. Despite ban on imports of raw material and medicines from India, Pakistan continued the import from India, as a result PM Imran khan clipped his financial powers and directed Ministry of NHS to reroute all the summaries to the PM office.
The SAPMs and Advisors are the key members of cabinet, their role is to facilitate and expedite the decision making and policy making process through their technical knowledge and experience. The individuals hired for such roles and responsibilities should undergo a substantive scrutiny process which may include assets declaration, nationality and all those areas where conflict of interest may arise.This may be a call for formulation of defined and discrete standards for such high profiled positions.
The Writer is a qualified accountant ACMA and CGMA from The Chartered Institute Of Management Accountants London UK.