Jemima Goldsmith, the UK-based former wife of Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan, has launched a scathing attack on her ex-husband's government for withdrawing the nomination of noted economist Atif Mian from a newly-constituted economic panel "because of his minority faith".
Goldsmith, 44, who is prolific on social media, tweeted her disappointment at Khan's apparent bowing to far-right pressure to remove Mian over his Ahmadi faith.
Ahmadis are designated non-Muslims in Pakistan's Constitution and their beliefs are considered blasphemous in most mainstream Islamic schools of thought. They are often targeted by the extremists and their places of worship vandalised.
"Indefensible & v [very] disappointing. New Pak gov asks renowned & respected Prof of economics to stand down because of his Ahmadi faith," Goldsmith said in a message posted on Twitter on Friday.
"NB [Note]: The founder of Pakistan, 'Quaid-i-Azam' (Muhammad Ali Jinnah) appointed an Ahmadi as his Foreign Minister," she said.
Goldsmith, a leading columnist and campaigner in the UK, went on to re-tweet a second message in reference to this, which quoted Jinnah from 1947 when Pakistan was created as a result of Partition with India.
"You are free; you are free to go to your temples. You are free to go to your mosques or to any other places of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion, caste creed that has nothing to do with the business of the state," Jinnah's quote reads.
Goldsmith, who has two sons with Imran, had been among the first to congratulate him on his victory in the general elections but had also sounded a note of caution in her Twitter message back in July.
She said at the time: "22 years later, after humiliations, hurdles and sacrifices, my sons' father is Pakistan's next Prime Minister.
"It's an incredible lesson in tenacity, belief & refusal to accept defeat. The challenge now is to remember why he entered politics in the 1st place. Congratulations".
The sister of Conservative party MP Zac Goldsmith is known for her outspokenness.
The attack on her ex-husband's methods comes in the wake of mounting criticism of the Imran-led government for giving in to extremist pressures by withdrawing the nomination of the leading economist because he belonged to a minority faith.
The move triggered resignations from other members of the Economic Advisory Council, including London-based economist Dr Imran Rasul, who said he "profoundly disagree[s]" with the circumstances in which Mian was asked to resign from the council.