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

By: News Desk      Published: 02:42 PM, 29 Jul, 2020
Two Special Assistants to PM Dr Zafar Mirza, Tania Aidrus resign

Two special assistants to Prime Minister Imran Khan resigned on Wednesday, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

Special Assistant to PM on National Health Dr Zafar Mirza and Special Assistant to the PM on Digital Pakistan Tania Aidrus announced their decisions on twitter about 10 days after their assets and citizenship were make pubic by the government.

Dr Zafar Mirza resigned apparently in view of the inquiry he is facing regarding import of medicines from India. According to 24NewsHD TV channel, Zafar Mirza was not satisfied with the probe.

In a message posted on Twitter on Wednesday, Dr Zafar Mirza said “I came to Pakistan on the personal invitation of Prime Minister Imran Khan leaving World Health Organisation (WHO).”

“Throughout my stint, I worked hard and honestly. It was a privilege to serve Pakistan. I am satisfied that I leave at a time when Covid-19 has declined in the country as a result of a grand national effort,” he further said.

Dr Zafar Mirza’s resignation came just hours after another Special Assistant to the PM on Digital Pakistan Tania Aidrus has resigned in the backdrop of the dual nationality issue.

In a tweet, Tania Aidrus said that the criticism levied towards the state as a consequence of her citizenship status is clouding the purpose of Digital Pakistan. Tania further said that in the 'greater public interest' she has submitted her resignation to the prime minister.

"I will continue to serve my country and the prime minister’s vision to best of my ability," she said.

Quoting sources, 24NewsHD TV channel reported that Tania Aidrus did not offer the resignation but she was asked to do so. There were reservations expressed against Tania Aidrus regarding SECP company registration issue.

According to the channel, there were also complaints against Tania regarding use of the Digital Pakistan funds.

Prime Minister Imran Khan constituted a committee to look into these charges. Tania, who was inducted in the federal cabinet on the recommendation of Jahangir Tareen, failed to satisfy the inquiry committee.

The Establishment Division notified Tania as special assistant to the prime minister on 28 February this year. Tania, a resident of Karachi, left Pakistan around 20 years ago. After moving to the United States, she first studied at the Brandeis University in Massachusetts and completed her BSc from there. Later, she joined Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and she did her MBA from there.

On completion of her education, she co-founded ‘Click Diagnostics’, a mobile health diagnosis company. What made it unique was it connected patients from rural areas to doctors around the globe. She also provided consulting services through Booz Allen Hamilton to companies from Fortune 500 and even to the US government. Shortly later, she joined Google where she worked at different positions and with different teams. She was part of the Global Business Organization of Google in the US and then became the Country Manager for South Asia Frontier Markets in Singapore.

Dr Zafar Zafarullah Mirza aka Dr Zafar Mirza served as Director of Health System Development at the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean. He is a medical doctor with post-graduation in Public Health in Developing Countries from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and a clinical stint in mental health.

He also led the Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property team at WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, for six years.

He also served as a Regional Adviser for Essential Medicines and Pharmaceutical Policies in the WHO Regional Office for 5 years prior to moving to WHO headquarters. For 12 years before joining WHO, he was a founder Executive Director of a civil society organization – The Network for Consumer Protection in Pakistan.

He has a long standing experience of working at national, regional and global levels in public and private health sectors. He has extensively travelled, published and contributed to improving public health in many countries.

On July 19 last, the assets and liabilities of the advisers and special assistants in the federal cabinet had been revealed. According to the numbers present on the cabinet website, there were three billionaires in the premier’s cabinet.

There are also five members with foreign nationalities. Two have foreign residencies/green cards.

The three billionaires are Adviser on Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood, Special Assistant on Petroleum Nadeem Babar and Special Assistant on Overseas Pakistanis Zulfi Bukhari.

The members with foreign nationalities are Zulfi Bukhari (British citizenship), Shahzad Syed Qasim (US citizenship), Nadeem Afzal Gondal (Canadian citizenship), Shahbaz Gill (US green card), Tania Aidrus (Canadian citizenship and permanent resident of Singapore), Nadeem Babar (US citizenship) and Moeed Yusuf (US resident).