Nadeem Chan says won’t quit PTI

Published January 15, 2021
In this file photo, Prime Minister Imran Khan (left) meets Nadeem Afzal Chan. — Photo courtest: Fahad Chaudhry
In this file photo, Prime Minister Imran Khan (left) meets Nadeem Afzal Chan. — Photo courtest: Fahad Chaudhry

ISLAMABAD: A day after Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Nadeem Afzal Chan resigned from his office on Wednesday, some of his colleagues made abortive attempts to bring him back again to the federal cabinet. But Mr Chan refused, saying he is sticking to his decision.

Inside sources in the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) told Dawn that some cabinet members, including federal Minister for Maritimes Affairs Ali Zaidi and Special Assistant to the PM on Overseas Pakistanis Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari, tried to convince Mr Chan to review his decision and withdraw his resignation. Many attempts were made to contact both Mr Zaidi and Mr Bukhari, but they were not available for comments.

However, Mr Chan told some of his close friends that he would stick to his decision. But, he added, he would not leave the PTI.

According to the sources in PM Office, Prime Minister Imran Khan has received Mr Chan’s resignation, but the premier has so far not taken any decision on it.

Meanwhile, Mr Chan has surrendered his government privileges, including his official car.

Mr Chan gave his resignation on Thursday, four days after his “meaningful” tweet on brutal killings of 10 Hazara coal miners in Mach, Balochistan.

Mr Chan’s resignation came a day after PM Khan expressed annoyance in the federal cabinet meeting that some of the cabinet members opposed the government’s decisions and warned them to accept unanimous decisions or resign.

The prime minister was of the view that after thorough discussion in the meeting and reaching consensus on different issues, there was no logic to oppose such decisions in media.

Soon after the prime minister’s controversial remarks of “blackmailing him” (by Hazaras) Mr Chan’s tweet came last Saturday expressing solidarity with bereaved families of slain coal miners saying: “O the bodies of the helpless, innocent labourers, I am ashamed.”

It has been learnt that the prime minister in the cabinet meeting, without naming any of the member, had warned that those who opposed the government’s decision should first resign and then criticise them (decisions) on social media.

When Dawn had contacted Mr Chan after his tweet, he had said his tweet was “the voice of his conscience” as he had already advised the prime minister in the last federal cabinet meeting to immediately proceed to Quetta so that the mourners, who were staging a sit-in with the bodies in chilled weather, could bury their loved ones.

Mr Chan is said to be one of the strongest supporters of the idea that the prime minister should have paid a visit to Quetta “without any delay” to share the pain and grief of ill-fated families of the slain Hazaras. The prime minister did pay a much-demanded visit to Quetta, but after the burial of the slain labourers.

“I was the first person who asked the prime minister vehemently to go to Quetta with any delay,” Mr Chan had said.

Many attempts were made to contact Mr Chan after his resignation, but in vain.

A couple of days ago SAPM on Power Tabish Gohar had sent his resignation to the prime minister from Dubai on personal reasons. But the PM did not accept it and during a meeting on Tuesday he was asked to continue to work in the same capacity.

Before Mr Chan, some other aides of the prime minister have left the federal cabinet. They include former minister for health services Amir Kiani, former information minister Firdous Ashiq Awan, Farrukh Saleem, Dr Zafar Mirza, Asim Bajwa, Shahzad Qasim, Iftikhar Durrani and Tania Airdus.

Published in Dawn, January 15th, 2021

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