Crucial post: Maryam Aurangzeb named state minister for information

Cabinet slot fell vacant after sacking of Pervaiz Rashid.


Sehrish Wasif October 31, 2016
Maryam Aurangzeb. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: The government on Monday appointed federal lawmaker Maryam Aurangzeb as minister of state for information, broadcasting and heritage.

The decision was taken in a high-level meeting presided over by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and attended by senior government officials. The meeting was held just two days after Pervaiz Rashid was asked to step down as information minister over a ‘fabricated’ report leaked to a newspaper.

Although Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan during his news conference on Sunday said the government would form an inquiry committee to find out the real culprits behind the leak, he made it clear that there was no record available to prove who was behind the report published in Dawn on October 6.

Aurangzeb’s appointment as the minister of state for information was announced through an official PML-N tweet. “Prime minister has decided to appoint Maryam Aurangzeb as new info minister (Min of State)’. However, no official notification was issued until the filing of this report.

Aurangzeb is a PML-N lawmaker from Punjab and was elected as MNA on reserved seats for women during the 2013 general elections. She is the daughter of former MNA Tahira Aurangzeb and is considered close to PM’s daughter Maryam Nawaz.

“Congratulations to the new MOS MOIB Maryam Aurangzeb, one of the most dynamic and diligent team members. May the Almighty bless you with success,” Maryam Nawaz tweeted on her appointment.

Federal minister’s slot kept open

The government has kept everybody guessing by keeping the slot of the federal minister for information vacant in a move that suggests that Pervaiz Rashid may be reinstated as information minister.

Sources in the federal government privy to the meeting at the PM’s office claimed that Sharif during the meeting made it clear that no one would replace Pervaiz Rashid.

This is a clear indication that the slot of the federal minister will remain vacant till the completion of the inquiry into the matter. It means that the removal of Rashid, who is a close aide of the prime minister, may be temporary and he may be back once the committee clears his name of committing any wrongdoing.

Earlier, rumours were there that the government was considering the name of Senator Mushahid Ullah Khan for the vacant slot. He was asked to come back to Pakistan from Japan as soon as possible.

The sources said the slot of the federal minister is a highly responsible position; therefore, his (Khan’s) name was being discussed because he is considered to be a highly responsible, a seasoned politician and an authoritative man in the party.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 1st, 2016.

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