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Many have threatened to withhold votes and demanded answers in response to Zia Ullah Bangash’s possible departure from an important position in promoting Pakistan’s regulatory climate for cryptocurrency.
Many social media users have begun an online movement to persuade Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to reinstate pro-crypto advisor Zia Ullah Bangash.
Bangash, the chief minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province’s research, technology, and information technology advisor, declared his resignation on Saturday. Bangash cited “unavoidable circumstances” in his decision to resign his advisory position in addition to his constituency duties — he previously served as a member of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s (KP) provincial assembly. Khan, according to reports, has not yet formally announced his resignation.
The abrupt departure of a person who many crypto users in Pakistan seemed to regard as a supporter of blockchain and digital currency ventures elicited a swift backlash from Twitter users. Within hours of Bangash’s announcement, the hashtag “WeWantZiaBangashBack” was trending in the region, with over 23,900 tweets. Some also vowed to vote against Prime Minister Imran Khan in the next election, which is scheduled for 2023.
“He is the only one in politics who understands the crypto and technology,” said Asad Shah, tagging the PM’s Twitter account.
“[Zia Bangash was the] only person who helped getting [sic] crypto back to our country,” said Yasen Ali. “We want Zia Bangash back. @ImranKhanPTI Bring him or we won’t vote you next time.”
Others speculated on the reasons for Bangash’s abrupt departure, with many claiming that local mafia gangs may have forced him to quit in order to stymie the country’s efforts to promote disruptive technology. Waqar Zaka, a crypto enthusiast and influencer, was among them. He previously assisted in the formation of a federal committee to develop cryptocurrency policy in the area.
“The person who got crypto in [KP] and working [sic] hard to get Facebook Monetization on in PAK, resigned, do you know why?” said Zaka. “Cuz there are stupids in Govt who don’t want to do anything and will stop anyone like Zia too. We want him back @ImranKhanPTI.”
— Waqar Zaka (@ZakaWaqar) April 18, 2021
Bangash, a technology advisor and crypto enthusiast, constantly tweeted about government decisions in Pakistan that might have an effect on the regulatory climate for cryptocurrency. One of his final posts before announcing his resignation was on CNN, where State Bank of Pakistan governor Reza Baqir said that the country was carefully testing the issuance of central bank digital currencies. Furthermore, he reported on the efforts of KP province to “take action to legalize cryptocurrency and crypto mining in Pakistan.”
“For nation progress, Pakistan needs digital revolution, and 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, of which both Bangash and the PM are members. “@ImranKhanPTI @IMMahmoodKhan keep politics aside, don’t shatter our dreams and let Pakistan grow.”