MULTAN: The PTI government in Punjab has formed teams at district and tehsil levels for image building of the government over its achievements and promotion of party policies on social media.

Using the platform of the information department, provincial focal person on digital media Mian Ans Aslam Daula is issuing notifications to appoint convener, deputy convener and 12 members of each social media team.

According to a notification, Rana Muzamil and Malik Waseem Ahmed have been appointed as convener and deputy convener for Kot Addu tehsil, Muzaffargarh district. Twelve other members have also been notified. The notification states the entire tehsil team will work under the supervision of Waqas Humayun Khan, the district convener.

Provincial information minister Fayazul Hassan Chuhan and Mr Daula were not available for a comment despite several attempts while the public relations officer for minister, Attique Ahmed, said that the purpose of forming social media teams was to promote government’s policies and achievements.

Notification issued but members not aware of their role

Asked about its working, he said Mr Daula could better explain the exact role and TORs of these teams.

In February, the information department of the provincial government had appointed Azhar Mashwani as the social media focal person to chief minister and a notification to the effect was issued according to which he would also assist CM’s then official spokesperson Shahbaz Gill. (Mr Gill is presently special assistant to the prime minister).

A senior bureaucrat Dawn talked to said the PTI government’s earlier initiative of Tiger Force might have benefited the party but it created problems for the administration at the district and tehsil levels.

He said deputy commissioners were asked to notify three committees for different administrative tiers as per the composition and terms of references (for the Tiger Force) defined by the government at district, tehsil, union council or village level with the direction to ensure that the services of volunteers were used for carrying out relief activities.

The duties which were assigned to the force members included ration distribution, identification of deserving people, quarantine centres management, transportation and mobilisation of workers, non-intrusive surveillance of home quarantine, data collection of labourers, public awareness against coronavirus and others.

He said that in various districts, the administration refused to use the Tiger Force during lockdown after traders complained about extortion and illegal fines imposed by some members of force. Sources said on one hand the government pressed the administration to utilise their services but at the same time assistant commissioners were conveyed privately that they should keep the role of the force to a minimum level to avoid any embarresment .

Newly appointed social media convener for Kot Addu Rana Muzamil said though he had not been briefed about his role, the purpose to form the teams was to defend the initiatives and performance of the PTI government at both provincial and federal level.

“Our political opponents usually spread negative propaganda regrading the government to prove it has failed while the situation is contrary. The PTI governments at both federal as well as provincial levels are doing their best to facilitate the masses and resolve their issues.”

He said that none of the conveners, deputy conveners and members had applied to become members of the social media team rather the party, while keeping in view their record and services at social media, nominated them for the task.

Muzamil who is also a member of the Tiger Force as well, was is not aware whether team members would be paid. “Someone told me that we will be allowed to use green number plates on our vehicles. Since we are ready to give our lives to the party, we are least bothered about any benefit,” he added.

Published in Dawn, August 10th, 2020