Saturday, September 8, 2018

Malala Yousafzai calls on Canadian PM to talk about G7 GEAC

The youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate and  the Pakistani activist for female education, Malala Yousafzai  on Saturday called on  Canadian Prime Minister  Justin Trudeau for a comprehensive discussion on G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council (GEAC).
Canadian prime Minister Justin Trudeau, sharing  a photograph on his  tweeter handle regarding  his meeting with  the  Pakistani activist for female education,  said "Great to catch up with @Malala today in Ottawa." 
In his tweet, the Canadian PM  said; "We talked about the important work of the G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council and our commitment to making sure more women & girls around the world get to go to school."

Great to catch up with @Malala today in Ottawa. We talked about the important work of the G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council and our commitment to making sure more women & girls around the world get to go to school.

On January, 2018, Prime Minister Trudeau announced the creation of the Gender Equality Advisory Council with an aim to  ensure that gender equality and women’s empowerment are integrated across all themes. 

Last year in April, Malala Yousafzai was bestowed with an honorary Canadian citizenship , and was warmly welcomed in the Canadian parliament by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
In her address to Canadian the parliament, the Pakistani activist had spoken about women empowerment, educating the girl child and the tragic situation of the refugees.

EDITORIAL: #Pakistan's Ahmadi Muslims - #AtifMian - Another black day

So, here we have it. The effective sacking of Dr Atif R Mian from the Economic Advisory Council (EAC) on the grounds of religious faith means that Naya Pakistan is over almost before it began. That the death knell was rung by Imran Khan and his own government represents a terrifying capitulation by a man who has long recast himself as the saviour of the people.
In short, the message that has been sent is this: Pakistan is no country for minorities; particularly the Ahmadiyya. And that this set-up, like others before it, is so lacking in resolve that it is willing to surrender to the religious right at the first hurdle. Such as the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP); which effortlessly held the federal capital hostage last year and incited the assassination attempt against then Interior minister, Ahsan Iqbal. This is the same party that venerates Mumtaz Qadri, a man who gunned down a siting Punjab governor over his solidarity with a Christian woman falsely accused of blasphemy. And all the while, Khan continues to ask the media to afford his government a grace period of 100 days before assessing the Centre’s performance.
The PTI appears to be suffering from gross and wilful myopia. The safeguarding of minority rights is one of the most important benchmarks of democratic commitment and intent. And failure on this front undoubtedly impacts first and foremost those in the immediate firing line. In reality, this is where the conversation should end. For this ought to be the only necessary consideration against such dangerous caprice. But since this is seemingly of no import to the Prime Minister, he should ponder the following.
A nation that refuses to defend its minorities — who suffer relentless threats from militant groups; constitutional discrimination; as well as what amounts to hate speech at the hands of certain lawmakers and sections of the judiciary — will never be trusted as a true partner for peace.
Not really. It may make all the right noises about reaching out to Afghanistan and taking the lead in bringing the Taliban to the negotiation table. But the naysayers will inevitably question how a country not devoted to national unity within its own borders can be vested with bringing the same to another people in another land. Such a nation, similarly, loses the moral high ground when it comes to taking India to task over human rights atrocities in -held Kashmir; especially at international forums. For the same reasons, it will become increasingly difficult over time to try and persuade the countries of Europe and North America against perceived or real instances of Islamophobia.
There are those who still choose to defend PM Khan. Choosing to believe that the ‘firing’ of Dr Mian represents nothing more than a strategic move to avoid political chaos so early into his tenure. To this we say: if such a privileged and well-educated gentleman who also happens to be an expert in his field can be so easily discriminated against — what chance is there for minorities with far less social and professional standing? Or are the latter not worth fighting for?
Sadly, we already know the answer to this. Which is why September 7, 2018 will forever remain a black day for Pakistan and its minorities. Indeed, for all who hold the pluralistic dream close. For Naya Pakistan can never be if it is not for all.

#Pakistan's Ahmadi Muslims - #AtifMian - Atif Mian and the kingdom of clowns

Zarrar Khuhro

There are times when you don’t know whether to laugh or cry, times when you ride the crazy train and hope it doesn’t go completely off the rails.
With the appointment of an Economic Advisory Council comprising some very highly skilled and world-renowned economists, it seemed as if the governance train had left the station at an impressive clip.
But the ride got bumpy; one of the economists happened to be Atif Mian — his impressive CV was the reason for being on this council — but alas, in a completely predictable development — it was his faith that became an issue.
There was a tweet — quickly deleted and disowned — from the Pakistan People's Party Shehla Raza. Then a notice in the Senate and National Assembly, presented by Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-F and signed off by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Jamaat-i-Islami, Awami National Party, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party and the National Party.
Surprisingly, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry came out swinging on the front foot, throwing down the gauntlet and taking a very strong stance defending the appointment, not just once but several times.
But that was a false dawn. Just a few days later came capitulation. Atif Mian was removed from his post. Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) said he had been removed and hours later, he claimed he himself had stepped down.
Even here, simple messaging and damage control failed rather miserably. No face saving was to be had.
In protest, Asim Ijaz Khwaja and Imran Rasul also quit the councilciting their inability to continue in this advisory capacity after seeing the treatment meted out to Atif Mian.
Economists across the world are aghast at this decision — the same economists who at times advise their own governments about how to interact with countries like Pakistan.
But what could the government do in the face of such reckless hate? Should they have allowed the country to burn as a result of a single appointment?
Surely not.
Surely the real blame lies with those who outed Atif Mian as Ahmadi.
Yes, that must be it, and this would be a fair argument if not for the (again) inconvenient fact that the government — the one that knows no fear — knew this all along, and knew what the consequences would be.
Let’s now travel to the distant past
Rewind a whole four years to 2014, when a grand sit-in was being held and the nation was held spellbound by the daily speeches of the Dharna Days. In one of those speeches, where Imran Khan was waxing lyrical about one of his favourite topics — appointments on merit — he mentioned a man called Atif Mian (sounds familiar, I know) whom he extolled as a renowned and globally acclaimed economist he would appoint as finance minister.
Who else would he appoint, thundered Khan to the approving roars of his followers, his samdhi?
But just a few days later, a delegation of well-meaning persons went up to Khan as he rested in his makeshift office to inform him that the man he had named was (shock and horror!) of the wrong faith; surely Khan had not been aware of this and would reconsider.
And he did.
I realise that we have the memories of goldfish and the incredible ability to not just rewrite history, but reality itself, but this wasn’t that long ago. It’s a Google search away, and can be looked up in less time than it takes to tweet “you khooni liberal patwari r da cause of all Pakistan problems u illuminati yahoodi traitors”.
Trust me, I timed it.
So not only was the reaction expected, the government went a step further and put Fawad Chaudhry in the firing line, only to effectively throw him to the wolves a few days later. Forget about principles of merit and tolerance — who cares about such nonsense anyway? But do consider what this says about the government’s decision-making ability.
For a government that loves to talk about Jinnah ka Pakistan and the more devoted followers of which never fail to compare Khan to the founder of the country, this was a failure on a very elementary level that flies in the face of Jinnah’s oft-repeated quote:
"Think 100 times before you take a decision. But once that decision is taken, stand by it as one." But we didn’t need Jinnah to tell us this. This is a fundamental principle of management and frankly, something we pick up as children without even needing it to be taught.
Clearly, no one in this government got that memo.
And here’s when it gets truly incomprehensible: this is a government that does not have the judiciary on its back, which has the visible and clearly signalled support of the military and has a popular mandate with no political opposition worth the name. And yet it cannot stick to a simple decision which had not even been effectively challenged yet. This is a government that had built up some religio-political capital by taking a stance on the despicable Geert Wilders’ caricature project and then taken credit for its cancellation.
This is a government that — unlike the wounded PML-N at Faizabad — could have sustained the pressure and called the bluff.
And this is where it gets scary: sharks can smell blood in the water from miles away — or so I’m told by the good people at National Geographic — and are already circling around. That’s the thing with sharks — they are beasts of limitless appetite and aren’t usually amenable to compromise. To wit, you can’t ask them to bite off your hand and then expect them to leave the rest of you intact. And here you were literally in a shark cage with no need to make a blood sacrifice.
To some, this is karma.
After all, the PTI relentlessly weaponised religion against the former government (Captain Safdar and his theatrics notwithstanding), and continued to use it even after Ahsan Iqbal had nearly been murdered and so — some say — it is kosher to use the same tactics against them.
While one cannot agree with that, it is again clear that even the most benighted mind could and should have seen this coming.
After all, when you use the language of the extreme right, it is the extreme right that gains. In no time at all, blame will be shifted to the opposition, to internal party factions, to random Twitter accounts and international conspiracies.
And more than blame, people within the government will even take credit.
In no time at all, we will move on, distracted like a child is by a set of shiny keys being rattled. The first clinking of this was heard on the day Atif Mian was removed. That evening, Prime Minister Imran Khan took to the airwaves not to explain this turnaround, but to appeal for funds to build a dam.
After all, we are a resilient nation — as resilient as a battered wife who always hopes that the next time around the beating will end in only a bloody nose and not broken bones.
What is this you say? That’s not how resilience is defined?
Well that’s your fault for not updating to the ‘naya’ dictionary where up is down and black is white. Meanwhile the rest of us can huddle on the banks of the great river of denial.
Now, if we could only build a dam on that mighty waterway we could, maybe, stop drowning in idiocy.

#Pakistan's #Ahmadi Muslims - #AtifMian - Editorial: Jinnah’s Pakistan? - Atif Mian's removal has dealt another blow to Jinnah's vision of a tolerant and inclusive Pakistan -

A meritorious appointment has been undone for reasons that have nothing to do with professional competence or qualification.
Princeton’s Prof Atif Mian has stepped down from the Economic Advisory Council after a campaign by far-right religious elements threatened to engulf the PTI government in a crisis that, sadly, could have quickly spiralled out of control.
On Aug 11, 1947, Mohammad Ali Jinnah famously declared: “You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the state.” In 71 years, Pakistan has slipped far from Jinnah’s beautiful dream and it is not clear how and when the country can be returned to the inclusive and progressive path that the founding father envisaged.
The PTI has clearly erred in both strategy and political will, but none of the mainstream political parties in the country have emerged from the episode with any credit. The PPP did not join a Senate resolution calling for Prof Mian’s removal, but neither did the party publicly endorse his appointment. The political class will try and put the latest capitulation behind it quickly, but the effects will surely linger.
The historical record incontrovertibly demonstrates that concessions to religious zealots further erode the space for rational discourse and decision-making. With profound governance challenges, a divided polity and a political landscape that is plagued by anti-democratic interference and other problems, no one party can take up the challenge of confronting religious extremism. But as security policymakers debate the political mainstreaming of some extant militant networks, there has been a question whether it is, in fact, extremism that is being mainstreamed in Pakistan.
The religious far right in the country has been mobilised in a manner that ought to worry all right-thinking citizens: short-sighted concessions and manipulations by the state will have far-reaching consequences for society.
Pakistan was, is and will remain a diverse society. Efforts to erase cultural, social and religious differences will not succeed because the population is vast and the country large. But beginning at the margins, it is possible to make life intolerable for a growing number of people — if hate is not purposefully and determinedly countered.
A brilliant mind has been prevented from serving his country; what hope is there for the average citizen in the face of intolerance and organised hostility? Jinnah’s Pakistan is tolerant, progressive, inclusive and democratic. Will Pakistan’s leadership return to the vision of the founding father?

#Pakistan's Ahmadi Muslims - #AtifMian - A Pitiful Surrender

Last week, when PTI’s Information minister Fawad Chaudhry reaffirmed his party’s support of Atif Mian’s appointment to EAC, it symbolised a lot of things. It was a commitment from PTI that it would uphold Article 36 of the Pakistani constitution, which guarantees the rights of minorities. It was a reassurance that served as a moment for hope that Naya Pakistan would be a meritocracy, where one succeeds on the basis of their hard-work and qualifications, and not on family contacts, creed or sect.
All of that PTI has dashed yesterday with its announcement that they had asked Atif Mian to step down, despite Pakistani law stipulating that non-Muslims would not be discriminated on basis of their faith for employment.
Perhaps we should have known it was too good to be true. The PTI government had been having a honeymoon period for its few weeks- with several on-the surface successes like the cancellation of the Dutch cartoon competition and its austerity promises; the government’s conviction on a tone of reconciliation and betterment of the country made us believe that the party’s tendency of backing out of its promises would not spill over to its governance. Alas, we were wrong, as less than four days after Fawad Chaudhry’s forceful statement defending Atif Mian’s appointment, he was forced to resign. The appointment of Atif Mian- ranked among the top 25 economists of the world- was a choice that government had to make between the Pakistani ideology and constitution, which emphasise equality, non-discrimination in employment and meritocracy, and appeasing groups like TLP- and unfortunately, it has made the wrong decision.
What is most worrying is that this decision displays PTI’s lack of grit, indicating that the party will be unable to withstand pressure from religious groups in the future as well, which will only become more violent and active now that their demands are met. This classical U-turn by the government, for the likes of extremist parties, will only come back to haunt it in the future.
Thus, it seems we are resigned once again to a situation where bigotry, hate and divisiveness won, instead of waking up to a Naya Pakistan, the one envisioned by our founders, where Muslims and non-Muslims can live peacefully side by side without discrimination. We wonder if we ever will.

#Pakistan's Ahmadi Muslims - #AtifMian - OP-ED Pakistan fails at curbing bigotry

Adnan Mangla

We must not wonder why Pakistan is failing to compete on the world stage. Any hope of future success, is teared down and destroyed by the corrupt and bigoted ideology held by the Muslim clerics.

The pressure to remove Dr. Atif Mian from the Economic Advisory Council comes as no surprise, but, I thought perhaps things were finally going to change. I thought, perhaps Pakistan’s movement for justice may finally once do as they promised. then I came to the harsh realization; Pakistan is not ready to change.
We’ve seen this story before. Promises of a “New” Pakistan. Promises to uplift Pakistan from the darkness of economic peril. Promises of improving Pakistan’s foreign policy and Promises to bring a new attitude towards Pakistan’s social welfare challenges; All these promises are just that; promises.
Pakistan is not ready to change.
Pakistan’s shaky political climate and poor performance has had a long history. This history is unfortunately paralleled with the hatred and mistreatment of Ahmadi’s living in Pakistan. In 1974, The Pakistani government made a legal amendment to the constitution. This change would declare Ahmadis as non-Muslims, removing their fundamental right to freely profess their faith.
Then we must not wonder why Pakistan is failing to compete on the world stage. Any hope of future success, is teared down and destroyed by the corrupt and bigoted ideology held by the Muslim clerics.
As we cast a glance in the past we are reminded of the plight of Dr. Abdus Salam. A world renowned scientist, removed from Pakistan’s history, simply because he was an Ahmadi Muslim. Facing rejection, he went on to find tremendous success outside the walls of Pakistan, going on to establish the International Center for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy.
We are reminded of an old proverb; One man’s weal is another man’s bane. One man’s wealth is another man’s plunder. And Pakistan is the gift that keeps on giving.
The IMF identified Atif Mian as one of twenty-five young economists who it expects will shape the world’s thinking about the global economy of the future. Pakistan’s response? – Force him out of the economic council due to his religious affiliation
We look back again and remember the story of Sir Zafrullah Khan. Honoured as the first foreign Minister of Pakistan, he made his way to the highest ranks in the United Nations General Assembly, serving as President of the court of International Justice. But this was too much for Pakistan to bear, pushed to self-exile he had to leave the nation he once helped build.
And such is the story of Pakistan.
Fast forward to the present; the International Monetary Fund (IMF) identified Atif Mian as one of twenty-five young economists who it expects will shape the world’s thinking about the global economy of the future.
Pakistan’s response? – Force him out of the economic council due to his religious affiliation.
To echo the words of the famous philosopher George Santayana “Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it.”
Pakistan had the chance to finally put change into motion, to finally deliver on its promises for a better future, and it has failed itself again.
Dr. Atif Mian’s tale will continue to unfold, but if Pakistan’s history will serve any lesson, it is that we must look past this unfounded hatred and work together towards building Pakistan’s Future.

Insulting removal of Princeton prof shows Pakistan has forgotten Jinnah’s view on Ahmadis


The unceremonious removal of Princeton economist Atif Mian by PM Imran Khan shows the end of meritocracy in Pakistan.
Atif Mian, the great Princeton economist who was unceremoniously removed from his position on Imran Khan government’s Economic Advisory Council, is not the one who lost out. It is Pakistan’s loss.
The story of Pakistan’s Ahmadis starts long before the creation of the country.  The Ahmaddiya Movement that started as a response to Christian missionary efforts in the late 19th century found many admirers amongst other Muslim sects. Allama Iqbal, the renowned Muslim philosopher, was an admirer of the founder of the Ahmadi movement and is rumoured to have joined it for a while as well before turning viciously vehemently and vociferously against it. Maulana Azad, the great Islamic scholar, considered the Ahmadis to be “Ghulat” i.e. a group that has transgressed the boundaries of divine faith but nonetheless is reported to have mourned the death of the founder of the Ahmadi movement.
When the Muslim League and Congress turned into bitter enemies in the late 1930s, Ahmadis soon became the subject of this tussle. Even though Jawaharlal Nehru had defended Ahmadis in a public exchange with Iqbal, Congress through Maulana Azad actively encouraged the anti-Ahmadi group Majlis-e-Ahrar-e-Islam, led by fanatics like Ataullah Shah Bukhari and Azhar Ali Mazhar, to attack the Muslim League for having Ahmadis amongst its members.
There was an Iqbalian group within the Punjab chapter of the Muslim League that wanted Ahmadis out as well.  They tried to introduce an oath that would require every elected member to work to get Ahmadis declared Non-Muslim. At this point, Jinnah intervened and resisted. The Punjab Muslim League’s oath was quietly shelved.
Jinnah unequivocally assured Ahmadis that they would be treated at par with any other Muslim sect. Jinnah himself was from a minority sect within Islam, and was mindful of the fact that this would open a can of worms that would damage Muslim solidarity like no other question. Jinnah’s close confidante and colleague was Zafarullah Khan, a leading Ahmadi lawyer, whose memo became the basis of Lahore Resolution. Majlis-e-Ahrar and even Maulana Madani of Jamiat-e-Ulema Hind continued to denounce Jinnah not just for his Westernised lifestyle but for having Ahmadis as his close advisers and as employees of his newspaper Dawn.

Principled stance

Ahmadis were not the only target of their wrath. When Jinnah appointed Pothan Joseph, a Syrian Christian, as the editor of Dawn, Maulana Madani denounced it saying that Jinnah was a secularist and unfit to lead the Muslims. In May 1944, when Jinnah went to Kashmir, he was inundated with queries about the Ahmadis, especially the Qadiani subsect of the group. On 23 May 1944, Jinnah said that Muslim League was open to all Muslims and that his advice was not to raise such sectarian issues because it would hurt not just Muslims but all communities in Kashmir and India.
It was because of this principled stance that Ahmadis threw in their lot with Jinnah and the Muslim League.
Jinnah’s other main supporter was Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmood, the 2ndCaliph of the Ahmaddiya Community and Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s son. In 1946 elections, Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmood advised all of his followers to vote en masse for the Muslim League. During Partition, Mahmood moved his entire body of followers to Pakistan. When the Kashmir war broke out between Pakistan and India, it was the Ahmadi community that cooperated with the Pakistan Army and set up Furqan Battalion comprising entirely of Ahmadi youth to fight alongside the Pakistan Army in Kashmir. The services of the Battalion were recognised and there is a letter from the Pakistan Army praising their services.
Zafarullah Khan, a barrister, had been a president of the Muslim League in the 1930s.  His direct association with Jinnah came during the roundtable conferences. Jinnah called him a Muslim and praised his efforts in negotiating a trade deal for India in 1939. It was Zafarullah who represented United India in the inaugural sessions of the UN. Later, Jinnah acquired his services as a lawyer to represent Muslim League at the boundary commission hearings in Punjab, a job that even Zafarullah’s opponents praised him for.
Since Zafarullah was also the advisor to the Nawab of Bhopal, Jinnah wrote to the Nawab to release him from his duties because he was needed as a wise and trustworthy lieutenant. To M.A.H. Ispahani in New York, Jinnah wrote that there was no person more able and talented than Zafarullah who was needed in Pakistan immediately. In December 1947, Zafarullah returned to Pakistan to become its first foreign minister. Despite considerable pressure, Jinnah didn’t budge even an inch. At that time, Jinnah was also criticised for inducting a Scheduled Caste Hindu as Pakistan’s first law minister –Jogendra Nath Mandal. After Jinnah died, Mandal was ultimately driven out of the government in 1950. However on Zafarullah Khan, the government remained steadfast.

More victims

Majlis-e-Ahrar, now having re-grouped after its pre-Partition defeat, started a nationwide movement to oust Zafarullah from the government and to declare Ahmadis Non-Muslim. Prime Minister Khawaja Nazimuddin, a Jinnah loyalist from East Pakistan, refused to accede even though he personally had no love for Ahmadis or their doctrine.
Ahmadis thus continued to enjoy the privileges as equal citizens including the right to identify as Muslims. Abdus Salam, Pakistan’s leading physicist and scientist, joined the Pakistan government and founded the Pakistani space agency. Under his guidance, Pakistan became one of the few countries in Asia to send a satellite into space in early 1960s. He also founded Pakistan’s atomic energy commission and trained a generation of Pakistani physicists. He was the Chief Science Advisor in the Pakistan government till September 1974 when he resigned in protest over the 2nd Constitutional Amendment brought by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s Pakistan Peoples Party government to appease the Mullahs. Pakistan’s National Assembly had just voted to declare the entire Ahmadi community out of the fold of Islam. Majlis-e-Ahrar-e-Islam and Jamaat-e-Islami had finally won. Meanwhile, Salam went on to win the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1979.
One more victim of this policy was Mirza Muzaffar Ahmad, another Ahmadi educated at Oxford University. A leading civil servant, he opted for Pakistan in 1947. He was Pakistan’s most successful secretary of finance and later went on to become the chief advisor. In 1971, he was stabbed by a religious fanatic called Aslam Qureshi after which he joined the World Bank, living out the rest of his life in Washington DC.  Qureshi became an instant hero to the anti-Ahmadi groups in Pakistan and it was none other than Senator Zafarul Haq of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) who organised his legal defence and then used his disappearance as an excuse to get General Zia ul Haq to promulgate the infamous Ordinance XX of 1984, which outlaws religious practice and freedom of the Ahmadis.

Downward graph

The list is long of Ahmadis who tried to serve Pakistan but were murdered in cold blood.
Ahmadis have served the country on the battlefield as well, often without recognition. Major General Iftikhar Janjua, for example, was for the longest time the only Pakistani general to die in battle for Pakistan. Then there were heroes like General Abdul Ali Malik and his brother General Akhtar Ali Malik. Abdul Ali Malik won the famous tank battle of Chawinda. Akhtar Ali Malik is said to have been on verge of taking Kashmir when Ayub Khan removed him from command replacing him with Yahya Khan, who was a poor military tactician. Pakistan Air Force too had many heroes, including Air Marshal Zafar Chaudhry. Ahmadis built Pakistan, and helped it survived.
The downward graph of Pakistan has interestingly followed Ahmadis’ marginalisation. This is not because Ahmadis are the only ones talented but because their marginalisation has also meant the end of meritocracy in Pakistan.
Pakistan will continue to lose unless it reverts to Jinnah’s wise words that religion caste or creed has nothing to do with the business of the state.

Imran Khan shows his cowardice by dropping Princeton prof Atif Mian over Ahmedia identity


Atif R. Mian was dropped by Pakistan govt days after he was appointed a member of Pakistan’s Economic Advisory Council.

Princeton professor Atif R. Mian has proved to be too hot for Pakistan’s Imran Khan government to handle. Days after Mian was appointed a member of Pakistan’s Economic Advisory Council, he has been asked to step down after what has been an unseemly controversy over his religion.
The move by Imran Khan has proved sceptics right and has indicated that his Naya Pakistan is cowardly when confronted with religious bigotry.
The storm was brewing in Pakistan over the appointment of Mian, who belongs to the Ahmedia sect, which was declared a non-Muslim minority by the Pakistani Parliament in 1974.
Mian is a renowned professor, writer and economist. But Pakistan chose to debate his religion instead for days – not his experience or qualification, nor his ideas on how to fix the economy and Pakistan’s myriad human development problems.
Mian teaches economics, public policy and finance at the Princeton University. He has previously taught at the University of California, Berkeley and the University Of Chicago Booth School Of Business. He is also the author of the critically acclaimed book House of Debt.
He is also a critic of how the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has been implemented in Pakistan by the previous government, which relies on foreign loans to undertake heavy infrastructure projects – Mian remains suspicious of what he calls opacity of the contracts between Pakistan and China.
If a person’s appointment were to be brought under such a sharp spotlight, it ought to be predicated on their qualification and policy recommendations.
But his religion is what got talked about. This is not just because of the Pakistani predilection for trivia and/or its penchant for manipulation of religion for political causes. This is, instead, a case of the poisoned chalice for the current government.
Imran had supported extremist cleric Khadim Rizvi when he held hostage the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi in November 2017 with his sit-in protest against perceived changes to the finality of prophethood law of Pakistan, which declares Ahmadis non-Muslims.
Rizvi was also successful in getting the government to completely surrender to the unreasonable demands, including the head of one minister, with the Pakistani military acting as an arbiter between Rizvi and the federal government.
Imran had not only celebrated the victory, but also proceeded to attend its Khatm-e-Nabuat conferences (finality of prophethood) and continued a bigoted and dishonest campaign against the Nawaz Sharif government at that time.
As soon as news emerged that Mian is an Ahmadi, all hell broke loose. Much of the opposition came from Imran Khan’s PTI party supporters. But some opposition senators also signed a calling attention notice on the appointment.
On Pakistani social media, the attack came from two fronts. The first attack came from the religious bigots who jump onto bandwagons to flay Ahmedis all the time and cannot see them in any office of public importance or authority. This class seeks vengeful persecution of Ahmedis.
The second category is what I would call ‘fake bigots’, who are merely seeking to score a political point against Imran’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) for its putrid campaign in the election. This lot wants to drive home the hypocrisy of the government, but its invective is pouring out as apparent religious hatred.
Public pressure mounted on cleric Rizvi to condemn Mian’s appointment. This resulted in a veiled video statement by him Tuesday against the appointment. This has attracted further instigation to hold Islamabad hostage again with another disruptive dharna, just as he did it during the previous Sharif regime.
His commitment to Khatm-e-Nabuat is currently being questioned with jibes, especially by the ‘fake bigots’ who see him as a military stooge used for debilitating Sharif’s government.
Surprisingly, and admirably, the current federal minister of information Fawad Chaudhry stoutly defended Mian’s appointment Tuesday saying, “Should we put bans on public role of religious minorities; are we going to throw them out of Pakistan? The entire world is speculating that Atif Mian will receive a Nobel Prize in five years, we have appointed him to the EAC and not to the Council of Islamic Ideology… and Pakistan belongs as much to its minorities as it does to the majority”.
This was in response to the vicious campaign against Mian on social media, and the entirely illegal and unconstitutional demands to throw him out of the committee because of his faith.
Predictably, Chaudhry and the PTI government came under fire for dismissing the backlash against Mian’s appointment. Chaudhry, however, stuck to his guns Wednesday stating, “Our interpretation of the state of Medina is that Islam means security, peace and moving forward together… why was Pakistan created… because minorities were being persecuted in India… it is not just the responsibility of the government to protect minorities, it is the responsibility of each Muslim. Because of these things (persecution of minorities) the entire world makes fun of us.”
His defence is robust, logical, legal, and in line with all norms of decency and standards of human rights. However, such rare principled stance by Pakistani governments or individual officers in the past has normally resulted in grief for them.
Former interior minister Ahsan Iqbal (PML-N) said in a tweet that only “talent and competency” should matter and “merit should not be mixed with religion”.
In the end, Imran Khan did not have the spunk that even someone like Fawad Chaudhry did.

#AtifMian, #NayaPakistan - Another economist resigns from EAC after Atif Mian asked to step down

A second economist resigned from Prime Minister Imran Khan's Economic Advisory Council (EAC) in protest over Dr Atif Mian being asked to step down from the body.
University College London (UCL) Professor Imran Rasul on Saturday in a series of tweets announced that he had resigned from the EAC.
"With a heavy heart, I have resigned from the EAC this morning," Rasul tweeted.
"I wish the government and EAC luck in their future work, and remain willing to offer non-partisan, evidence based advice that can help improve economic policy making in the country," he added.
His resignation comes a day after two prominent Pakistani economists resigned from the EAC after the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government asked one of them to step down.
Dr Atif R Mian, a professor at Princeton University and Woodrow Wilson School of Public Policy, had said he was resigning because the government was facing pressure regarding his appointment.
In the evening, the same day, Dr Asim ljaz Khwaja, a professor of International Finance and Development at the Harvard Kennedy School and a leading international economist of Pakistani origin, also stepped down from the EAC in protest after the news of Mian's resignation.
"Have resigned from EAC. Painful, deeply sad decision," Dr Asim said in a message on Twitter, adding that "ever ready to help" Pakistan.
On Friday, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry had taken to Twitter, saying: "The government has decided to withdraw Dr Mian's EAC appointment."
"The government wants to move forward taking along ulema and all segments of the society, and if a different perception develops through a nomination, it is not right," Chaudhry had added.
PTI Senator Faisal Javed in a tweet had said Dr Mian has agreed to step down. "Atif Mian was asked to step down from the Advisory Council and he has agreed. A replacement would be announced later."
Mian's appointment to the EAC had led to severe criticism of the government.

Naya Pakistan govt receives a harsh criticism over asking Atif Mian to step down from EAC

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government asked the well-known economist Atif Mian to step down from the Economic Advisory Council after allegedly receiving back lash from the religious groups and few of the political opponents.

Atif Mian was appointed a member of economic advisory council by Prime Minister Imran Khan. He is among IMF’s top 25 economist. Khan is receiving a lot of criticism.
PTI senior leader Faisal Javed Khan early in the morning announced the recent development over the appointment of the economist Atif Mian on twitter
Atif Mian was asked to step down from the Advisory Council and he has agreed. A replacement would be announced later.
After which, twitter is erupted with the condemnation of the step taken against the decision to remove famed economist Atif Mian succumbing to the demands of few extremists alleging Atif Mian for his religious beliefs rather considering heavyweight for his merit, experience and education. #AtifMian#NayaPakistan#EconomicAdvisoryCouncil, #Fawad #KhadimRizvi start trending on top on different social media sites.
Politicians, journalists, civil society, educationists not only from Pakistan but from all over the world take social media by storm while expressing their disappointment took to twitter with infuriated and reprimanding comments against the decision taken.
بہت ہی افسوس ناک دن ہے آج قائداعظم محمد علی جناح کے پاکستان نے اقلیتوں کے لئے اپنے دروازے بند کردئیے اور اس کے ساتھ ہی قائداعظم کا عظیم وعدہ بھی چکنا چور ہو گیا
‘نئے پاکستان’ کی ریڑھ کی ہڈی وہی پرانی والی نکلی ۔۔
The state of Madina, the social welfare states of Scandinavia, the rule of law of England, the military prowess of Germany and USA, the technological progress of US, the development of China and the bigotry of religious extremists... good luck!
the government has chosen 7 September to announce its decision to remove Atif Mian from his position. On this day in 1974, second constitutional amendment was passed to declare Ahmadis as non-Muslims. If nothing else, PTI should at least have avoided making a symbolic gesture
Remember this: Pakistan can never go anywhere good if its state, governments and polity continue to surrender to bigotry. It can only go in circles, until the circle becomes so narrow that all three begin to tear each other apart.
Bowing to prejudice, Imran Khan's new government unseats a prestigious international economist because of his Ahmadi faith. The ideal state, a spokesman said, should be modeled on Medina in Saudi Arabia — 1400 years ago. 
A truly disappointing decision. Makes me wonder what space do I have in my own country if my religious background, not my education, work or good intentions define me as a person. @AtifRMian could not have saved this country, but the country could have saved the idea of
اس تمام نام نہاد ہنگامے میں مجھے @betterpakistan احسن اقبال صاحب سب سے بہتر لگے جنہوں نے میرٹ کی بات کی تھی۔ کل تک عاطف میاں ن لیگ کے لیے ناقابل قبول تھا آج اس کو ہٹانے پر حکومت کو پسپائی کے طعنے ۔ ہم صرف مخالفت برائے مخالفت کرتے ہیں۔
At a time when you have no political challengers, no issues with judiciary or military and have wide public support and are still basking in Victory you can't take a stand on an appointment that you yourself made knowing it would have consequences. Doesn't augur well. For you.
There is nothing naya about this Pakistan. Same old bigotry, exclusion and religious intolerance. This is our loss.
The development was also confirmed by Minister of Information Fawad Chaudhary afterwards. He maintained that the government has decided to withdraw the nomination of Atif as it wants to move forward alongside all Ulemas and social groups while avoiding conflict.
حکومت نے فیصلہ کیا ہے کہ عاطف میاں کی اقتصادی مشاورتی کمیٹی سے نامزدگی واپس لے لی جائے،حکومت علماء اور تمام معاشرتی طبقات کو ساتھ لے کر ہی آگے بڑھنا چاہتی ہے اور اگر ایک نامزدگی سے مختلف تاثر پیدا ہوتا ہے تو یہ مناسب نہیں۔
عمران خان کا آئیڈیل ریاست مدینہ ہے، اور وزیر اعظم اور ان کی کابینہ کے اراکین عاشقان رسول کریم صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم ہیں۔ ختم نبوت ہمارے ایمان کا حصہ ہے اور حال ہی میں گستاخانہ خاکوں کے معاملے پر حکومت نے جو کامیابی حاصل کی وہ بھی اسی نسبت کا اظہار ہے۔
Earlier, on different occasions Information Minister Fawad Chaudhary categorically rejected such extremist demands. Just days after the federal information minister publicly defended Princeton professor Atif Mian’s appointment, a PTI senator tweets that he has been asked by the govt to step down from the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council.
حضرت عُمر(رض) نے تو شام میں اپنا ریونیو افسر (اقتصادی اُمور) باقاعدہ حُکم جاری کر کے ایک یونانی غیر مسلم تعینات کیا محض قابلیت کی بنیاد پر۔ کیا حضرت عُمر (رض) سے بڑھ کر آئیڈیل ریاستِِ مدینہ کی تقلید کرنیوالا کوئی ہو سکتا ہے؟ تاریخ پڑھ لیجئیے۔
For all those who got all excited about Fawad Chaudhry’s initial response on I hate to say this but told you it doesn’t mean much and that position won’t last long.
For a brief moment, many of us thought we might be proven wrong about the PTI. How how wrong we were!
Atif Mian is a prominent and distinguished economist Dr Atif Mian is a Professor of Economics in the University of Princeton. He is ranked among top 25 economists in the world. He has taught in reputable universities like the University of Chicago, University of California, Berkeley and now is proudly teaching in the Princeton University.

Atif Mian is also the author of the economic opus ‘House of Debt’, and dozens of research publications. His research has been published in various prestigious research journals like American Economic Review, Econometrica, Quarterly Journal of Economics etc. Furthermore, Dr Atif Mian has about 18 fellowships, and is the Director and co-founder of the ‘Centre of Economic Research Pakistan’ (CCEP).