Mirza is the second member of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s federal cabinet to submit his resignation in second day
Less than an hour after special assistant to the P.M. on Digital Pakistan Tania Aidrus announced her resignation on Twitter, Special Assistant to the P.M. on Health Dr. Zafar Mirza also announced on social media that he was stepping down from the post.
“I have resigned as SAPM. I came to Pakistan on a personal invitation of P.M. Imran Khan, leaving WHO [World Health Organization],” posted Mirza from his official Twitter account.
“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 added.
“Due to ongoing negative discussion about the role of SAPMs and criticism on the government, I choose to resign. Pakistani people deserve a better health care. I have worked sincerely to contribute to this cause. Pakistan will Inshallah emerge out of COVID-19 with a stronger healthcare system,” he added.
A notification issued by the Cabinet Division confirmed that Prime Minister Imran Khan had accepted Mirza’s resignation.
Mirza does not have dual national status, as does Aidrus, and criticism over his role as special assistant has been far less vocal. Earlier this year, he came under fire for the government’s mishandling of the COVID-19 quarantine centers at Taftan. He has also been accused of illegally appointing junior doctors as head of hospitals; smuggling face masks and protective gear out of Pakistan; and failing to curb a rapid surge in prices of medical supplies.
Observers have warned that Mirza resigning during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is far from over, risks endangering the country’s efforts to curb its spread.