– ‘We are willing to face economic crunch but we do not want Dr Atif to stablise our economy’
LAHORE: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government’s decision of appointing Dr Atif Mian, a leading international academic of Ahmadi faith, as member of the Economic Advisory Council (EAC) has been criticised heavily by the party’s own workers and supporters, who took to streets on Thursday to register their protest.
A large number of PTI supporters, mostly women from different non-government organisations (NGOs), along with common citizens held a protest demonstration outside the Lahore Press Club. They were carrying placards and banners inscribed with slogans against the newly-appointed adviser’s faith. Wearing PTI caps on their heads, the protestors appealed Prime Minister Imran Khan to immediately remove Dr Atif from the important post.
Dr Sania Khera of Saadat Foundation led the protest rally. She said, “We voted for PTI to witness change and not for the appointment of people belonging to the Ahmadi community on top government posts. It is our humble request to PM Imran khan to take notice of the situation as the matter is hurting the feelings of Muslims in the country.”
Ahmed Khan, a protesting student, on the occasion said he always supported the decisions of Imran Khan but induction of Dr Atif was not acceptable to his heart and mind. “We are willing to face economic crunch but we do not want Dr Atif to stablise our economy,” he added.
It is pertinent to mention that a vicious online campaign against Dr Atif faith had started as soon as the federal information minister announced his appointment. It has been observed that the online campaign has gained momemtum in the last two days with people demanding Dr Atif’s immediate removal.
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Tuesday had defended Dr Atif’s appointment and said that Pakistan “belongs to minorities as much as it belongs to the majority”.
The appointment of Dr Atif Mian of Princeton University (Department of Member Economics and Woodrow Wilson School of Public Policy) to the 18-member EAC has been also widely opposed by some individuals and groups, including Khadim Rizvi of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP).
On the contrary, many people have also shown support for Dr Atif with the argument that one’s religion should not matter in his/her professional qualifications or employment.