ISLAMABAD: The Economic Advisory Council (EAC) suffered another setback when a London-based economist from the private sector quit it on Saturday over a recent controversial move of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government.
Dr Imran Rasul, a professor of economics at University College, London, was the last EAC member based outside Pakistan.
He announced his decision in a tweet, explaining that the withdrawal of Dr Atif Mian’s name by the government from the EAC because of his faith was against his principles.
“With a heavy heart, I have resigned from the EAC this morning,” Dr Rasul tweeted.
Dr Rasul said Pakistan was full of talent but it “needs leaders willing to draw on all this talent, and that are willing to appeal to our better sides, for the common good and not sow division.”
He wished the government and the EAC luck in their future undertakings. He said he remained willing to offer “non-partisan, evidence-based advice” that could help improve economic policymaking in Pakistan.
Dr Rasul said: “The circumstances in which Dr Atif was asked to step down are ones I profoundly disagree with. Basing decisions on religious affiliation goes against my principles, or the values I am trying to teach my children.
“If there was one academic on the EAC that Pakistan needs, it was Atif Mian.”
He added that the formation of the EAC and the panel’s composition offered a great opportunity to the government to devise a better economic policy for the country.
“Resolving the macro and fiscal mess the country is in will lay the bedrock for social protection, poverty alleviation policies and other economic reforms the country also needs,” he reminded.
On Friday, the government had asked Dr Atif Mian, US-based academic, to step down from the EAC, and the decision was announced by Senator Faisal Javed and Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry.
Hours later Dr Asim Ijaz Khwaja, professor of International Finance and Development at the Harvard Kennedy School, also quit the advisory council. In a tweet, Dr Khwaja stated: “Have resigned from EAC. Painful, deeply sad decision. Grateful for chance to aid analytical reasoning but not when such values [are] compromised. Personally as a Muslim I can’t justify this. May Allah forgive/guide me&us all. Ever ready to help. Pakistan Paindabad.”
Published in Dawn, September 9th, 2018