ISLAMABAD: The appointment of PTI Senator Shibli Faraz as the new information minister and Lt Gen (retd) Asim Saleem Bajwa as the special assistant to the PM on information and broadcasting is apparently aimed at improving ties with the opposition amid the need for national unity to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
Unlike Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, who was de-notified as the special assistant on information a day earlier, Faraz is expected to be less hostile towards the opposition and is well respected within political circles. The soft-spoken politician he is the son of the late renowned poet Ahmad Faraz.
His cordial ties with other politicians are likely to bridge the gap between the government and the opposition, particularly ironing out differences between the Centre and the Sindh government over the strategy to deal with the Covid-19 crisis.
Similarly, Bajwa, who has served as the director general of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) in the past, has plenty of experience of chalking an effective media strategy in the ongoing situation.
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The Faraz-Bajwa duo is also expected to improve the government’s image and defend its policies more effectively.
The reshuffle has been welcomed by within the ruling party’s circles.
Science and Technology Minister Fawad Chaudhry, who was the first information minister of the PTI government, broke the news of the latest cabinet change. He said the both Faraz and Bajwa “will make a great team”.
“The prime minister can better tell the real reasons behind the move but PTI workers are happy that an old party face has been made the information minister,” Chaudhry told The Express Tribune.
“Making Shibli Faraz as the information minister will send a good message to party workers,” he added.
“Media and communication strategy was in doldrums for a while now and the overall media strategy was not on the right track,” he continued. “Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa knows the media like the back of his hand and his experience as the ISPR’s spokesperson would help in image building.”
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Similarly, Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar also lauded the move.
He said the premier had wisely chosen intellectuals Faraz and Bajwa for the job.
“The old workers of the PTI have welcomed appointment of Faraz. As Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa, he is the one who set the foundation of the modern ISPR. He is competent person and well aware about media-related work.”
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