PESHAWAR: Provincial Minister for Higher Education Mushtaq Ghani replaced Shah Farman as minister for information of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government here on Tuesday.
The former information minister, Shah Farman, still holds the portfolio of public health engineering department.
“Yes, I have taken charge as information minister and hope to be available to media,” said Mr Ghani, who was notified as information minister of provincial government on Tuesday.
Shah Farman, who was holding additional portfolio of information department, was often not available to mediapersons on various occasions to give government’s version or comment on issues relating to the provincial government.
Mr Ghani joined Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) after winning a seat of provincial assembly in the last general elections as an independent candidate.
He was appointed adviser to chief minister and later included in the cabinet and made minister for higher education.
Mr Ghani is the third information minister of the incumbent provincial government.
After coming into power in the province, PTI found it hard to defend the stance of the government on militancy since it avoided coming out clear about militancy, which was one of the major problems of the province. It was a reason that portfolio of information was a hot seat, sources said.
At first when the PTI-led provincial government was formed a year ago, Shaukat Yousafzai was given the portfolio of information as he had worked as editor of a local newspaper.
He was also holding the portfolio of health. However, the minister, who seemed more interested in health ministry was, relieved from the information ministry’ responsibility.
As pressure group within the party grew stronger, PTI reshuffled ministers and inducted some advisers and ministers in the provincial cabinet.
Shaukat Yousafzai, the then health minister, was removed form the cabinet as health ministry was also taken from him in April 2014.
Yaseen Khan, another adviser to chief minister, was also removed for what was called his poor performance.
Mr Ghani told Dawn that he would look into the problems of information department and try to improve its performance. Recently, around 100 employees of the Provincial Information Directorate (PID) were adjusted in other departments including health and environment during a recent right-sizing drive. Around 60 employees are now working in PID.
“The right-sizing is aimed at improving the governance,” said the new information minister.
Published in Dawn, July 23rd, 2014