Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan resigned as special assistant to Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar on information on Friday, less than a year after being appointed to the position, citing "unavoidable personal grounds".
In her resignation letter, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, Awan thanked Prime Minister Imran Khan for "posing confidence in me to undertake the herculean task" of highlighting the "outstanding and remarkable performance of the Government of Punjab".
She also expressed her gratitude to Buzdar for his "scrupulous support ... from time to time which kept me motivated and steadfast in accomplishing the professional goals set for me by my party".
Awan said she was "proud" of undertaking the "sensitive" duties as SACM and "putt[ing] in my efforts with utmost dedication to signify the unparalleled and historical achievements by the Punjab government".
She further said she was "delighted" to have served the interests of the Punjab government. However, "due to certain unavoidable personal grounds, I am unable to continue with my present assignment, in the Government of Punjab," she said, while resigning from the position with immediate effect.
A notification issued by the Chief Minister's Office stated that Awan's resignation had been accepted by Buzdar.
Last month, Awan had submitted her resignation in order to run the PTI's by-election campaign in Sialkot but had later withdrawn it on the instructions of the prime minister.
"The premier has stopped me from resigning from my office and asked me to continue work to highlight the achievements of the Punjab government," she had told a news conference.
Sources in the chief minister's house, however, claimed that CM Usman Buzdar wanted Awan to resign as he was not comfortable with his aide on information. They alleged that Awan was even bypassing the chief minister in making announcements, which Buzdar himself wanted to announce.
Awan, who previously served as the special assistant to the prime minister on information and broadcasting, was appointed as special assistant on information to the Punjab chief minister in November 2020.
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.
During her time as SACM, Awan was involved in a number of controversial incidents, including a "spat" with then Sialkot assistant commissioner Sonia Sadaf, getting into a physical altercation with PPP MNA Qadir Khan Mandokhail on the set of a TV show and making disparaging comments about the people of Sindh.
Meanwhile, CM Buzdar also de-notified Mohammad Awn Chaudhry as the special coordinator to the chief minister on political affairs with immediate effect.
According to a press release issued by the Chief Minister's Office, Buzdar met MPA Malik Asad Ali Khokhar today (Friday) and decided to appoint him as a provincial minister. Khokhar will take oath of office tomorrow, according to the release. However, it did not mention what portfolio would be given to Khokhar, who was previously the minister for wildlife and fisheries before he was asked to resign in July last year.