New Delhi: In a surprising move, former Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) chief Lt Gen. Asim Saleem Bajwa (Retd) was Monday appointed as the new Special Assistant to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on information.
Bajwa will replace Firdous Ashiq Awan, who was serving as the information advisor to Khan. Awan was also sacked as the Federal Information Minister and will replaced by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Shibli Faraz.
Pakistan’s Science and Technology Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain made the announcement on microblogging site Twitter.
— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) April 27, 2020
Last year, Hussain had been replaced by Awan as the Information Minister.
Why Awan was removed
Sources in Pakistan told ThePrint that Imran Khan was upset with Awan, who was indulging in “self promotion”, and therefore brought in the sudden changes.
However, sources in the Indian establishment said contrary to the official line, the Pakistan Army’s hand is visible clearly in these changes.
The appointment of Gen Bajwa, the former ISPR chief who also served as the chairman of the important China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Authority, shows the Pakistan Army’s focus on information projection, said the Indian sources.
The ISPR connection
Bajwa had served as the Southern Command chief in the Pakistan Army before his retirement last year. He was the ISPR director general between 2012 and 2016.
His successor was Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, who was known as the ‘Twitter General’ on social media. He was also replaced in January this year.
ISPR is a tri-service organisation, which serves as the propaganda department of the Pakistani Army, and is the key department responsible for information warfare.