Saturday February 24, 2024

Atif R. Mian's appointment: Moment of truth for Imran Khan

After facing host of controversies shortly after assuming power, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government is once again caught in the eye of the storm.

September 05, 2018

After facing host of controversies in its early days in power, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government is once again caught in the eye of the storm.

The latest controversy to hit the Imran Khan-led government revolves around induction of Atif R Mian, an ace economist , into the newly constituted Economic Advisory Council (EAC).

The appointment was part of Khan's efforts to steer the country out of economic crisis but a large number of people have opposed the inclusion of Atif R Mian, a member of a minority community.

While Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry has received accolades from a segment of society for defending his government's move and advocating the rights of religious minorities, a large number of people including PTI workers have rejected the appointment.

In his media comments yesterday, Mr Chaudhry said Pakistan belongs as much  to minorities  as it does  to the majority.

He went on to declare those opposing the appointment as extremists and said no one should have any objection to Mian's induction in the council.

"It is an economic council, not Islamic Ideology Council," he reminded the critics. 

Meanwhile, the prime minister's decision has stirred a debate on the social media about the rights of non-Muslims.

Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) Ameer Maulana Khadim Hussain Rizvi has also warned the government against appointment, although he has refrained from any protests so far. 

Adding fuel to the fire, some opposition lawmakers yesterday signed a Calling Attention Notice in the Senate seeking explanation over the inclusion of Atif Mian in the EAC.

As the debate over the issue rages , political analysts are questioning whether the government would be able to stand its ground or not.

They also fear the religious parties can mount a protest march on the capital.

Although the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, the major opposition parties in lower and upper houses of the Parliament, seem to have decided not to adopt a tough stance over the issue, it is evident from the reactions pouring in on social media that the government is faced with a serious dilemma.

The criticism and attacks targeting the government are quite different from the ones that came its way over the issue of helicopter and austerity measures .

The most significant question right now is whether the government would stick to its decision or succumb to the right-wing pressure?  It is the moment of truth for Imran Khan.