Pakistan's de facto health minister quits amid coronavirus outbreak

Zafar Mirza
Zafar Mirza

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s de facto health minister Zafar Mirza resigned on Wednesday in the middle of the pandemic as the opposition mounted a no-holds-barred attack against advisers and special assistants to the prime minister who hold dual nationality.

Mirza has stepped down at a time Pakistan braces for a spike in the virus spread due to two major Muslim gatherings in the coming weeks.

“Due to ongoing negative discussion about the role of SAPMs & criticism on the gov, I choose to resign,” he said in a statement he posted on Twitter. “I am satisfied that I leave at a time when COVID-19 has declined in Pakistan.”

Pakistan has lately witnessed a downward trend in coronavirus cases, bringing daily infections as low as 1,000 from over 5,000.

The country has registered 276,288 coronavirus infections and 5,892 deaths.

Earlier in the day, another of the PM’s advisers, Tania Aidrus, resigned citing her dual citizenship.

Aidrus said she was resigning from her post due to recent criticism leveled against her and the government because of her dual citizenship.

In a tweet, Aidrus said: "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 MPM’s vision of a Digital Pakistan”. — Agencies