Pakistan PM Imran Khan's top aides resign after assets, dual nationalities of special assistants made public

The resignations come amid recent criticism levelled against the government after assets and nationalities of 15 special assistants to Prime Minister Khan were made public last week

Published: 29th July 2020 08:55 PM  |   Last Updated: 29th July 2020 08:57 PM   |  A+A-

Pakistan PM Imran Khan

Pakistan PM Imran Khan (File photo | PTI)


ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan lost two of his key aides on Wednesday when they resigned after the assets and dual nationalities of over a dozen of his special assistants were made public, prompting the Opposition to mount an attack on the government.

Shortly after Tania Aidrus, Special Assistant to prime minister on 'Digital Pakistan' announced her resignation, Special Assistant on Health Dr Zafar Mirza too quit the high-profile job.

The resignations come amid recent criticism levelled against the government after assets and nationalities of 15 special assistants to Prime Minister Khan were made public last week, revealing that seven of them were either dual nationals or held another country's permanent residency, as well as the details of their assets, the Express Tribune reported.

Aidrus, a former Google executive who was appointed as the Special Assistant earlier this year and tasked to head the Digital Pakistan initiative, announced her resignation after documents found that she had a Canadian citizenship and was also a resident of Singapore.

Aidrus announced on Twitter that she was resigning due to the criticism against the government because of her dual-citizenship.

"Criticism levied towards the state as a consequence of my citizenship status is clouding the purpose of 'Digital Pakistan'. In the greater public interest, I have submitted my resignation from the SAPM role. I will continue to serve my country and the PM's vision to my best ability," Aidrus tweeted.

She also tweeted the image of her resignation letter that stated she had returned to Pakistan with the singular intent to contribute and develop the vision of a 'Digital Pakistan'.

Hours after Aidrus' resignation, Special Assistant to Prime Minister Khan on Health Dr Mirza also tendered his resignation.

"I have resigned as SAPM. I came to Pakistan on a personal invitation of @ImranKhanPTI leaving WHO. I worked hard & honestly. It was a privilege to serve Pakistan. I am satisfied that I leave at a time when COVID-19 has declined in Pakistan as a result of a grand national effort," Mirza tweeted.

"Due to the ongoing negative discussion about the role of SAPMs & criticism on the gov, I choose to resign. Pakistani people deserve better health care. I have worked sincerely to contribute to this cause," he tweeted.

Prime Minister Khan's Special Assistants who have dual nationalities include, SAPM on Petroleum Nadeem Babar (US), SAPM on Overseas Pakistanis Syed Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari (UK) and SAPM on Power Division Shahzad Qasim (US).

The Opposition parties have demanded that those having dual citizenship should be ousted as they were ineligible to become a Member of Parliament.

There was also an uproar why the dual nationals were allowed to sit in the Cabinet meetings.

Criticising the government, Pakistan People's Party leader Senator Sherry Rehman in a video statement questioned how advisers and close aides sitting in the federal Cabinet can be dual nationals when members of parliament are not permitted to hold dual citizenship.

Prime Minister Khan in the past had strongly opposed members with dual citizenship, she said, adding that the prime minister has "taken a U-turn on everything he says".

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Khawaja Asif said the federal Cabinet is always a product of parliament and rules regarding dual nationalities are applicable to both.

"If a foreign national can't be a Member of Parliament, how can he/she be a member of the Cabinet?" he asked.


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp