Govt axes 'uncomfortable' Atif Mian from economic council in turnaround

Published: September 7, 2018
Atif Mian. PHOTO: FILE

Atif Mian. PHOTO: FILE

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led federal government has asked noted economist Atif Mian to step down from the prime minister-led Economic Advisory Council (EAC), Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said on Friday.

“The government has decided to withdraw Atif Mian’s nomination. We aspire to forge ahead with the cooperation of all stakeholders. This includes people from all socio-economic backgrounds and religious scholars. A single appointment cannot be allowed to hold this hostage.”

“(Prime Minister) Imran Khan draws inspiration from the first Islamic state of Madina. His cabinet members are lovers of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Belief in the finality of prophethood constitutes an integral part of their confession. The government’s recent diplomatic victory over the Netherlands caricature contest is representative of this.”

PTI defends appointments on EAC

Atif Mian announced to step down as EAC member in a Twitter post. “For the sake of the stability of the government of Pakistan, I have resigned from the Economic Advisory Council, as the government was facing a lot of adverse pressure regarding my appointment from the Mullahs (Muslim clerics) and their supporters.”

Earlier, Senator Faisal Javed Khan had tweeted saying, “Atif Mian was asked to step down from the Advisory Council and he has agreed. A replacement would be announced later.”

Special Assistant to Prime Minister of Pakistan on Media Iftikhar Durrani termed the decision mutual. He said the uproar over the appointment had left the distinguished academic “uncomfortable”.

Another EAC member resigns

Meanwhile, another renowned economist and member of the EAC Dr Asim Ijaz Khawaja announced to resign in protest following the controversial decision.

“Have resigned from EAC. Painful, deeply sad decision. Grateful for chance to aid analytical reasoning but not when such values compromised. Personally as a Muslim I can’t justify this. May Allah forgive/guide me&us all. Ever ready to help. Pakistan Paindabad,” Khawaja tweeted.

Fawad Chaudhry slams Shehla Raza after tweet controversy

Dr Khawaja is the Sumitomo-Foundation for Advanced Studies on International Development Professor of International Finance and Development at the Harvard Kennedy School, co-director of Evidence for Policy Design (EPoD), and co-founder of the Center for Economic Research in Pakistan (CERP). Khawaja was one of the 18-member EAC.

Mian’s appointment to the committee drew heavy flak on account of his confession. Prominent critics of the move included Shehla Raza of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam top boss Maulana Fazlur Rehman.

Earlier on Wednesday, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry reiterated the government’s resolve of secure minority rights. “Protecting minorities is an integral part of Islam. Pakistan is an Islamic state. We must ensure rights of all minorities are secured,” the minister said.

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Reader Comments (38)

  • Waj
    Sep 7, 2018 - 10:13AM

    What a shame people of Pakistan!Recommend

  • D.K. Gautam
    Sep 7, 2018 - 10:34AM

    Old Pakistan.Recommend

  • Sheikh Sa'adi
    Sep 7, 2018 - 10:46AM

    **Economist Atif Mian to step down from economic advisory council after ‘unanimous decision’**

    Welcome to Same Old Pakistan.

    Honestly I had not expected this Government to show its True Colours so quickly.Recommend

  • Periphery
    Sep 7, 2018 - 10:54AM

    Shame and sadness. Like the 1890’s epoch defining Dreyfus case in France when a Jewish military officer was implicated in treason due to hatred n bigotry; history will force us too to see and admit our naked guilt. Recommend

  • Munaf
    Sep 7, 2018 - 11:29AM

    hi all,
    why the writers mention more than once in articles same things ? here one can read what Senator Faisal Javed Khan wrote on Twitter repeated 3 times

    a replacement would be announced later

    this shows that writers here want to make Big Post ( article ) as much as possible, repeat is necessary before actual post ( on twitter etc. )


  • Thora Bora
    Sep 7, 2018 - 11:37AM

    So there is no place for minorities in Pakistan. Recommend

  • Dove
    Sep 7, 2018 - 11:41AM

    What an unfortunate country!Recommend

  • Frank
    Sep 7, 2018 - 11:59AM

    This is a very bad decision. Imran Khan will come to regret this. Give the religious extremists an inch and they’ll take a mile. Shame on PML-N and PPP for playing on sectarian sentiments.Recommend

  • Eirabie
    Sep 7, 2018 - 12:06PM

    There is no CHANGE. A government which bows to a few illiterates, will not be able to change anything. If PM really loves the country, and wants to win the war to get the country to great heights, then he needs to stand up against people who are out to destroy PAKISTAN. These people will always find a fault, just so that they can get self satisfaction over a small victory, even if it means the land of the pure is destroyed.Recommend

  • Feroz
    Sep 7, 2018 - 12:10PM

    Definitely Naya Pakistan where extremism, bigotry and fundamentalism has been mainstreamed. Recommend

  • Yousuf47 London
    Sep 7, 2018 - 12:16PM

    PTI in withdrawing the nomination of Atif Mian due to criticism by a twisted quarter in Sheila Raza has committed a cardinal sin after its pledge that appointments shall be merit based notwithstanding his religious affiliation. Mr Atif Mian appear to be a highly qualified Economist and the Government needs economists to carry out reforms especially micro finance if health of the nations wealth is to improve. Recommend

  • Acorn Guts
    Sep 7, 2018 - 12:56PM

    So no ‘niya Pakistan’ thenRecommend

  • Parvez
    Sep 7, 2018 - 1:07PM

    Disgraceful …… no moral courage.Recommend

  • Khan
    Sep 7, 2018 - 1:08PM

    This is a very dangerous precedent being set for Pakistan, don’t forget that it was Dr. Abdus Salam who bought nuclear in Pakistan! Atif Mian was a very intelligent economist and could have help Pakistan’s economy. Let religion be a personal matter!Recommend

  • Khan muhammad
    Sep 7, 2018 - 1:16PM

    The religious establishment is Pakistan’s biggest curse unfortunately. Recommend

  • Haroon Khan
    Sep 7, 2018 - 1:17PM

    Shameful … is this the na’aya ??Recommend

  • Feroz
    Sep 7, 2018 - 1:29PM

    Pakistan’s inability to match its words with action has affected its credibility and standing at the global level. Selling propaganda and spinning conspiracy theories about imaginary enemies is so much easier. Recommend

  • venkat
    Sep 7, 2018 - 1:39PM

    Very sad to hear this. He is such brilliant economist. His appointment not only helps pakistan, but also be a role model for younger generation. Dont bow to extremists, this is the time you should stand up and face them. Recommend

  • Shahid Ali
    Sep 7, 2018 - 1:50PM

    Considering the risk of this decision … Its a right decision. . . nation is not reading to digest such decisions Recommend

  • Ali
    Sep 7, 2018 - 1:54PM

    This step is against the vision which Quaid-e-Azam set for Pakistan to give equal rights to all people irrespective of their religion.I am extremely disappointed.Recommend

  • Minty
    Sep 7, 2018 - 1:55PM

    Spineless. This was a real chance to put extremists in their place. Recommend

  • Amit Lunia
    Sep 7, 2018 - 2:27PM

    There is no Naya Pakistan..Recommend

    Sep 7, 2018 - 3:01PM

    Death of meritocracy in the land of pure.Recommend

  • AJ
    Sep 7, 2018 - 4:22PM

    Retaining Atif Mian would have put IK’s life and PTI government in jeopardy, but a true leader should not compromise on his/her principles. Recommend

  • Saud Usmani
    Sep 7, 2018 - 4:30PM

    Qadiyanis do not accept them selves as non muslims or minority, so how can they get minority rights.Recommend

  • Amir
    Sep 7, 2018 - 5:04PM

    What confession Recommend

  • iftikhar Ali
    Sep 7, 2018 - 5:38PM

    Unless Atif Mian didn’t want to be part of this council, it is a sad decision from the government of Pakistan.Recommend

  • Disappointed Pakistani
    Sep 7, 2018 - 6:40PM

    Unfortunately – sanity did not prevail. This means that merit was not the criteria. If he is still a Pakistan’s citizen then removing him just because he is not Muslim is wrong. Moreover, Mr. Fawad was using Islam and islamic history to justify his inclusion and now he is again using the same to justify his removal. We expect this new government to be more transparent and honest and at the same time firm in their decisions if they are in Pakistan’s benefit.Recommend

  • Omer Aziz
    Sep 7, 2018 - 6:48PM

    I find this both disturbing and alarming at the same time. Suppose you go to some foreign country and need to take a Taxi to get to your destination, are you going to ask the driver what his religion is? If Atif Mian could drive our nation out of poverty then he is the right driver! So what if he is a Qadiani? This is Pakistan and that white strip on our flag stands for equal rights for our minorities. Removing him is a sad decision, I must say. Recommend

  • Tauseef Khan
    Sep 7, 2018 - 6:50PM

    @Saud Usmani:
    How can you force someone to accept something? You can call them what you will but you can’t force them. That right is not with anyone. Everyone has a right to believe and profess what they believe — that is the in the constitution of Pakistan also. Recommend

  • Nadir Sadiq
    Sep 7, 2018 - 7:14PM

    PTI just lost it’s face completely. I am so dejected by this decision, I had thought we were finally going to own up to our people. From this day onwards PM should stop aiming for making a Madinah type govt. If they can not face this how do they plan to face bigger challenges. A very very SAD day..Recommend

  • Hidayat Khan
    Sep 7, 2018 - 7:31PM

    No need to donate any money to a country where minorities are treated badly. Ahmedis are better Muslims than us, nobody has the right to declare anyone as non-Muslim. Recommend

  • Max
    Sep 7, 2018 - 7:56PM

    When will we learn to live as an inclusive society? I am rattled by the decision. Atif Mian is a superb economist, a genius in any sense of the term and loves his motherland.Recommend

  • Newton
    Sep 7, 2018 - 8:10PM

    Funny how when people of Pakistan go overseas they want all the rights as minorities but in their own country their are no rights for minority’s Recommend

  • Saba
    Sep 7, 2018 - 9:54PM


  • Ali
    Sep 7, 2018 - 10:34PM

    Well I am not voting for PTI again.Recommend

  • Dr. Asjad Iqbal
    Sep 7, 2018 - 11:43PM

    Someone’s private beliefs are nobody’s business. Anything that is not relevant to the performance of ones duty shouldn’t considered.
    It seems that Mr. Atif Alvi has been living in the USA for many years. Does he have US citizenship or dual Pakistani US citizenship? I am a dual Pakistani US citizen and I would be blocked from any elected office or even a government job because people think there might be a conflict of interest.Recommend

  • F Khan
    Sep 8, 2018 - 8:24AM

    Welcome to the Naya (old) Pakistani,

    Did we really think that IK would be any different? It was a hope, a very slight hope ,,,,,, and then we woke up!Recommend

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