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PM’s aide on health Zafar Mirza resigns

Says he's satisfied with his efforts against coronavirus

SAMAA | - Posted: Jul 29, 2020 | Last Updated: 1 year ago
Posted: Jul 29, 2020 | Last Updated: 1 year ago

Photo: Radio Pakistan

Dr Zafar Mirza, the special assistant to the prime minister for health, resigned from his post on Wednesday.

He announced the decision on Twitter.

“I have resigned as SAPM. I came to Pakistan on a personal invitation of Imran Khan leaving WHO,” said Dr Mirza.

“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 as a result of a grand national effort.”

His resignation came less than an hour after Tania Aidrus resigned.

Before joining the government, Dr Mirza was the director of health systems development at the WHO EMRO office. He was appointed on April 19, 2019.

On April 20, the Supreme Court ordered the removal of Dr Mirza from the post of PM’s aide on health over an “unsatisfactory” performance.

“Nothing can be said as to how far is [PM’s] special assistant Zafar Mirza transparent,” Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed had said during the hearing of a suo motu notice on the coronavirus pandemic.

In mid-March, the FIA had investigated Dr Mirza and other high-level government officials over an allegation of smuggling 20 million face masks out of Pakistan. The Pakistan Young Pharmacist Association had submitted the application to the Federal Investigation Agency.

The investigation was halted in mid-June.

PM Khan had curtailed the powers of his aide to make financial decisions, it was reported on May 19. The decision came days after the PM ordered a probe into the alleged import of 450 medicines, including vitamin tablets, from India. Dr Mirza was told to stop interfering in the ministry’s financial matters.

Pakistan reported the biggest spike in coronavirus in June after Eidul Fitr. Over 111,000 COVID-19 infections and 2,216 fatalities were recorded.

However, Dr Mirza refused to follow the WHO’s recommendations to impose “intermittent lockdowns” in targeted areas. The World Health Organisation had submitted these recommendations on June 7 because it said the country didn’t fulfill “prerequisite conditions” before easing lockdown restrictions.

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