PTI’s social media guru to head govt digital wing

Published August 5, 2020
Imran Ghazali has been hired as general manager after government assessed 500 candidates for the job. — Photo courtesy Ghazali's Facebook page
Imran Ghazali has been hired as general manager after government assessed 500 candidates for the job. — Photo courtesy Ghazali's Facebook page

KARACHI: After assessing 500 applications received for the digital media wing, the government has appointed the former social media head of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), Imran Ghazali, to lead the newly established unit in the information ministry.

According to an Establishment Division notification dated Aug 3, Mr Ghazali has been hired as the general manager of the wing at the Management Pay-II (MP-II) pay scale.

In addition, the ministry has also notified five other appointments with immediate effect, including four digital communication officers, Shahbaz Khan, Usman bin Zaheer, Naeem Ahmed Yasin, and Syeda Dhanak Hashmi at the MP-III scale. Mohammad Muzamil Hassan has been hired for the role of digital media consultant at MP-III scale.

According to the Ministry of Information and Broadcas­ting, the Digital Media Wing (DMW) is a newly established unit at the ministry and was approved by the cabinet earlier this year.

The cabinet had initially approved a supplementary grant of Rs42.791 million during the previous financial year for creation of the digital media wing.

However, according to the Establishment Division notification, individuals will be paid as per their MP scale. The pay scale for the top position (MP-II) is expected to be almost Rs300,000 with Rs150,000 being the basic pay.

Those on other positions would be paid Rs75,000 a month.

The DMW, said the information ministry, will be responsible for curating the digital content for official social media assets of the government. It will also organise and verify social media accounts of all federal government ministries and build their presence online.

As per the advertisements published in newspapers in March, the 23-member digital media wing will comprise a general manager, a digital media consultant, five digital communication officers, three video editors, two videographers, one photographer, four graphic designers, five content writers and one digital feed manager.

The candidates for the remaining posts had been shortlisted, the ministry said.

According to the information ministry, the recruitments in the digital media wing were made by a special selection board after it conducted interviews. It added that a summary of the selected individuals was approved by the prime minister on July 20.

Who are the selected members?

Prime Minister Imran Khan’s focal person on Digital Media, Dr Arslan Khalid, denied media reports that suggested that all six individuals selected were former members of the PTI’s social media wing.

He said these were “not true” and that all the successful candidates were top names from the digital media industry.

“Apart from Imran Ghazali, who worked with PTI SMT [social media team] till 2016, none has any linkage to the PTI,” he said.

According to the profiles of the DMW members shared with Dawn, the DMW head, Ghazali, has over 14 years of experience in the digital industry. Besides leading the PTI’s election campaign in the past, he has worked for Alif Ailaan and World Bank.

Muzamil Hasan, who has been selected as the digital media consultant, is a content creator and the founder of Lolz Studios, an infotainment channel on YouTube.

COO of the same Lolz Studios Network, Shahbaz Khan, has been assigned the role of digital communication officer. According to the details, Shahbaz has been a social media content specialist for the past decade.

Among the other digital communication officers, is a content producer Usman bin Zaheer, who has previously worked for Geo Entertainment Network from 2011 to 2018.

Digital communication officer Naeem Ahmed has worked for news channels, including 24 News, Duniya News, Geo News and Bol News.

The fourth officer is Dhanak Hashmi, who has previously worked as director research and development at the Centre for Global and Strategic Studies (CGSS).

The ministry said a total of 76 applications were received for the position of ‘general manager’, whereas 67 for the ‘digital media consultant’ vacancy. All in all, some 461 people applied to the jobs across seven MP scales, it added.

Published in Dawn, August 5th, 2020

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