Second economist resigns from Pakistan's advisory council over Ahmadi colleague's removal

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Islamabad : A second economist resigned from Prime Minister Imran Khan's Economic Advisory Council (EAC) on Saturday in protest over the removal of renowned academic Dr Atif Mian from the body due to his Ahmadi faith.

"With a heavy heart, I have resigned from the EAC this morning," Dr Imran Rasul, a professor of economics at University College London, said in a tweet.

"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 said.

His resignation came a day after another EAC member Dr Asim ljaz Khwaja, a professor of International Finance and Development at the Harvard Kennedy School, resigned hours after the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government asked his colleague Dr Atif Mian to step down on Friday, Geo News reported.

Dr Atif Mian, a professor at Princeton University and Woodrow Wilson School of Public Policy, had been appointed to the body last week and said he was resigning because the government was facing pressure from religio-political parties regarding his appointment.

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry had taken to Twitter about Dr Atif Mian's removal, saying: "The government wants to move forward alongside scholars and all social groups, and it is inappropriate if a single nomination creates an impression to the contrary."

The appointment of Dr Atif Mian to the 18-member EAC set up to advise the government on economic policy was opposed by some individuals and groups, including Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan, who objected to his Ahmadi faith.

A social media smear campaign had erupted against Dr Atif Mian's appointment, with many calling for his removal.

On the other hand, there were a large number of supporters who defended his appointment on the social media, saying that one's religion should not factor into their professional qualifications or employment.