September 1st, 2021
Newly appointed CEO Health Chakwal Dr. Waseem Ahmed has been removed from his post, reportedly for being an Ahmadi.
According to a notification issued by the Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department (P&SHD) Punjab on August 31, Dr. Ahmed was asked to relinquish his charge and to report to the P&SHD.
Dr. Ahmed was appointed as CEO Health Chakwal on August 20 and assumed charge on August 24. Soon after his appointment, few religious organizations launched a hate campaign against him and demanded authorities to remove him from his post.
Meanwhile local news media outlets have joined the hate campaign against Dr. Waseem and have used derogatory words against him. District Bar Chakwal had also called on the authorities to remove the newly-appointed health officer immediately.
Sources privy to the developments told Voicepk.net that as the outrage of religious outfits against the CEO increased, the local political leadership stepped in to reap political support from the ongoing crisis.
“Hafiz Ammar Yasir, a local MPA affiliated with PML-Q and Provincial Minister for Mines met with Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhary Pervez Elahi on August 30, and apprised him of the situation. Following the meeting, Elahi contacted Punjab Health Minister Dr. Yasmin Rashid and requested her to transfer the CEO health without any further delay,” a local journalist said.
Another source from Chakwal Health Department has also verified the above mentioned facts.
However, political spokesperson for Hafiz Ammar Yasir refuted these claims, stating that Yasir had no role in Dr. Waseem’s transfer and that it was a routine matter.
The PRO of the P&SHD denied that the transfer was made due to Dr. Waseem’s faith, and termed it a normal practice. When asked what circumstances forced the government to remove the officer just days after his appointment, the PRO refused to comment any further on the matter.
According to a local journalist, Dr. Waseem enjoyed an excellent reputation and had also previously served as CEO Health in other districts of Punjab.
“Soon after his appointment, he took action against a doctor who was long accused of harassing lady health workers.”
Religious groups have also demanded the removal of a female government officer, also for being an Ahmadi.
“The Deputy Commissioner Office has confirmed that the said female officer will be removed from her post soon,” the source told Voicepk.net.
Vulnerable to attacks
The Ahmadiyya community has been subject to increasingly deadly attacks and hate speech since they were declared non-Muslim by the state through a constitutional amendment. International rights organizations have urged Pakistani authorities to end discrimination against Ahmadis.
On July 13, 2021, UN human rights experts expressed their deep concern over the lack of attention to the serious human rights violations perpetrated against the Ahmadiyya community around the world and called on the international community to step up efforts in bringing an end to the ongoing persecution of Ahmadis.