In a reshuffle of the Punjab cabinet, Fayazul Hasan Chohan was on Monday removed as the provincial information minister, according to a notification issued by the Punjab government.
Meanwhile, Firdous Ashiq Awan, who previously served as the special assistant to the prime minister on information and broadcasting, was appointed as special assistant on information to Chief Minister Usman Buzdar.
Chohan, who previously held the colonies portfolio and additional charge of information, will now only hold the portfolio of the Punjab colonies minister, according to a notification issued by the Punjab Services and General Administration Department.
The move apparently came as a surprise to Chohan, who told Dawn when contacted that he did not know of any such development.
As part of the reshuffle, two other provincial ministers — Mehar Muhammad Aslam, who held the cooperatives portfolio, and Zawar Hussain Warraich, who held the prisons portfolio — were removed from their offices.
Awan was appointed as special assistant to the chief minister in place of Javaid Akhtar, another special assistant to Buzdar. "The chief minister, Punjab has also been pleased to assign the portfolio of Special Assistant to Chief Minister on Information to Ms. Firdous Ashiq Awan," another notification said.
In a tweet, Awan said she was "greatly humbled and honoured with the confidence that my great leader Imran Khan has shown in myself and my ability. I am also deeply thankful to the honourable CM Punjab for making me a part of his team."
"It is with great humility that I accept this tremendous responsibility. God willing, I will try and do my level best to change the information landscape of the Government of Punjab for the better to the best of my ability," she added.
Chohan: in and out of information ministry
This is the second time Chohan has been stripped of the information portfolio.
Notorious for his blustering style of speech, Chohan was removed as the provincial information minister in March last year after he faced heavy criticism on social media for his derogatory remarks directed towards the Hindu community.
However, he was reinstated as the Punjab information minister only months later, replacing Mian Aslam Iqbal, who had excused himself from the charge.
Firdous Ashiq Awan: PPP stalwart-turned-PTI spokesperson
Awan, who was a PPP stalwart before she joined the PTI in May 2017, was named the special assistant to Prime Minister Imran Khan on information and broadcasting as part of a major cabinet reshuffle in April 2019, eight months after the PTI chief took office.
Awan, along with her husband, was a staunch supporter of the PPP until party co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari consolidated his control over the party.
She began her political career in 1990 with a focus on improving the healthcare system, and founded the Society for Health and Development and Exchange.
In 2002, she was elected to NA-286 on a reserved seat for women. In 2008, she successfully contested the NA-111 poll and was appointed the federal minister for population welfare. She later served as the information minister in the PPP government.
In 2013, she again contested the NA-111 poll but this time was unsuccessful. In 2015, she resigned as the PPP Punjab vice president before joining the PTI two years later.