Many social media users have launched an online campaign for Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan to bring back pro-crypto advisor Zia Ullah Bangash.
On Saturday, Bangash, the science, technology and information technology advisor to Mahmood Khan, the Prime Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, announced that he would be stepping down. Bangash cited “inevitable circumstances” in his decision to give up his advisory role in addition to responsibilities in his constituency – he was previously a member of the provincial assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, or KP. Khan has reportedly not yet officially accepted his resignation.
The sudden departure of a number that many crypto users in Pakistan seem to have viewed as proponents of blockchain and digital currency projects sparked a swift reaction from Twitter users. Within hours of Bangash’s announcement, many had received the “WeWantZiaBangashBack” hashtag, which was popular with more than 23,900 tweets across the country. Some threatened to withhold Prime Minister Imran Khan’s votes in the next election, expected in 2023.
“He’s the only one in politics who understands crypto and technology,” said Asad Shah, tagging the Prime Minister’s Twitter account.
“[Zia Bangash was the] only person who helped get [sic] Crypto back to our country, ”said Yasen Ali. “We want Zia Bangash back. @ImranKhanPTI Bring him or we won’t choose you next time. “
Others speculated about the reasons for the sudden resignation. Many suspected local mafia groups may have pressured Bangash to leave the country to obstruct the country promoting innovative technologies. Among them was the crypto lawyer and influencer Waqar Zaka, who had previously helped set up a federal committee to create a cryptocurrency policy in the region.
“The person who got crypto [KP] and work [sic] It’s hard to get Facebook monetization going in PAK. You have resigned. Do you know why? “Said Zaka. “Because there are fools in the government who don’t want to do anything and will also stop someone like Zia. We want him back @ImranKhanPTI.”
Person who worked hard for Crypto Mining and Facebook Monetization is out, @ImranKhanPTI why? Everyone who works for the IT industry is taken care of by the #WeWantZiaBangashBack mafia
– Waqar Zaka (@ZakaWaqar) April 18, 2021
As a technology advisor and crypto attorney, Bangash tweeted regularly about government actions in Pakistan that could potentially affect the regulatory environment for crypto. One of his final posts before announcing his resignation was the governor of the Pakistani state bank, Reza Baqir, who said on CNN the country had been carefully scrutinizing the central bank’s digital currency issuance. He also reported on KP Province’s efforts to “take measures to legalize cryptocurrency and crypto mining in Pakistan”.
“For the nation’s progress, Pakistan needs a digital revolution, and the digital revolution needs @ZiaBangashPTI,” said Mohammad Khan, who claimed to be a member of the social media team behind the country’s centrist political party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, to be both of which Bangash and the PM are members. “@ImranKhanPTI @IMMahmoodKhan keep politics aside, don’t destroy our dreams and let Pakistan grow.”