Ex-ISPR DG Steps in After Firdous Removed Over ‘Corruption’

In a significant development, Prime Minister Imran Khan has appointed Senator Shibli Faraz as Information Minister and Lieutenant-General (r) Asim Saleem Bajwa as his special assistant on information and broadcasting, replacing Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan.

The Prime Minister office issued two separate notifications, first to confirm the removal of Dr. Firdous Ashiq and second for the appointment of the Shibli-Asim duo to the helm.

The first notification read:

The Prime Minister has been pleased to remove Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan from the office of Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting, with immediate effect.

PTI MNAs Delighted

Ahead of the formal appointments, Federal Minister for Science and Technology, Fawad Chaudhry, who was the first Information Minister for PTI government, broke the news on media, welcoming the ‘positive’ change.

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.

He said that the appointment of Shibli Faraz as the information minister will send a good message to party workers, adding that Faraz and Bajwa will make a good team.

Federal Minister for Human Rights, Shireen Mazari also congratulated Shibli Faraz for his appointment on the post. She said that Faraz was an old face of PTI and has the ability to run the ministry in a better way.


An informed source told Pakistan Today that an intelligence agency had recently informed the Prime Minister’s Office about the alleged involvement of Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan and a senior official of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in awarding government advertisements to some media houses in lieu of bribes.

The source said that following the intelligence tip-off, Prime Minister Imran tasked Information Secretary Akbar Hussain Durrani, who is known for his honesty and professionalism, to probe the allegations. The source added that upon investigation, a senior official of the information ministry pointed to the involvement of Dr Firdous in corruption.

The source said that on Monday, Firdous was summoned to PM Office where PM’s principal Secretary Azam Khan confronted her with the findings of the inquiry and directed her to step down from the position. The former SAPM was also informed that she had violated the rules of business by acquiring additional vehicles and employees without authorisation.

The source claimed that Firdous also made political appointments in Pakistan Television (PTV) exceeding its requirement on the quota. Moreover she had also inducted a sweeper and security guard for personal use from the PTV’s job quota.

“Firdous refused to resign and insisted on meeting the prime minister to clarify her position. However, the PM did not give her an audience and she was de-notified from her office a few hours later,” the source claimed.

Taking to Twitter later in the night, Firdous thanked Prime Minister Imran Khan for trusting her, saying it was his prerogative to decide which member of his team will serve on what position. “I respect his decision,” she added.

She also refuted news reports claiming she was removed from her office due to alleged corruption, terming them “concocted” and “baseless”.

Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan, a stalwart of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), joined PTI in 2017, just one year before coming into power. She lost the election from Sialkot but was appointed Advisor to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting in April 2019, replacing Fawad Chaudhry.

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