PTI govt removes minority member from Economic Advisory Council after backlash

  • The news of his removal comes days after Information minister defended Princeton University economist

ISLAMABAD – Following the backlash over appointing a member of the Ahmadi faith in Economic Advisory Council, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has decided to remove Atif Mian, a senior economist.

The development was announced by PTI Senator Faisal Javed Khan on his Twitter account Friday morning stating, “Atif Mian was asked to step down from the Advisory Council”.

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He added that the minority member had agreed to leave the position. The new member of the Prime Minister Imran Khan-led advisory council would be announced later, Khan said.

Information Minister Fawad Hussain also announced on Twitter that the government has decided to withdraw the nomination of Mian as a member of the EAC. He added that the government wanted to move forward by taking religious scholars and social groups along. “It is not reasonable if a different impression surfaces over a single nomination,” he added.

“Madina-like welfare state is ideal of Prime Minister Imran Khan,” he said, besides asserting,  “All members of his cabinet are Ashiqan e Rasool (SAW)”.

“The finality of Prophethood is part of our faith,” Hussain said, adding that the success of the government in the matter of blasphemous caricatures is an example of it.

The appointment of Mian, a Princeton University economist, to the advisory group went controversial after different groups, including Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), raised concerns over including an Ahmadi in the council.

The removal of Mian came three after PTI government vowed not to bend to fundamentalists, saying minorities have same rights in Pakistan as the majority enjoys.

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, on Sept 4, responding to the criticism, said that the minority member has been appointed in the advisory council related to the economy and not in the Islamic ideology council, local media reported.

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“I don’t think that anybody raise objection over his appointment,” he said adding that the government has appointed a highly qualified person.

“Those who are raising objections are actually fundamentalists,” Chaudhry said, adding, “We should not bend to the fundamentalism”.

“Its duty of every Muslim to protect and respect the minorities,” he added.