Firdous Ashiq Awan resigns as special assistant to Punjab CM citing 'unavoidable personal' reasons

Published August 6, 2021
Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan speaks to the media. — APP/File
Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan speaks to the media. — APP/File

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.

Previous resignation

Last month, Awan had submitted her resignation in order to run the PTI's by-election campaign in Sialkot but had later withdrawn it on the instructions of the prime minister.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.

However, the charge was taken away from her in April last year, and she was replaced as the SAPM by retired Lt Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa. Bajwa himself resigned from the post in October 2020.

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.

Other decisions

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.

Opinion

Editorial

More pledges
Updated 25 May, 2024

More pledges

There needs to be continuity in economic policies, while development must be focused on bringing prosperity to the masses.
Pemra overreach
25 May, 2024

Pemra overreach

IT seems, at best, a misguided measure and, at worst, an attempt to abuse regulatory power to silence the media. A...
Enduring threat
25 May, 2024

Enduring threat

THE death this week of journalist Nasrullah Gadani, who succumbed to injuries after being attacked by gunmen, is yet...
IMF’s unease
Updated 24 May, 2024

IMF’s unease

It is clear that the next phase of economic stabilisation will be very tough for most of the population.
Belated recognition
24 May, 2024

Belated recognition

WITH Wednesday’s announcement by three European states that they intend to recognise Palestine as a state later...
App for GBV survivors
24 May, 2024

App for GBV survivors

GENDER-based violence is caught between two worlds: one sees it as a crime, the other as ‘convention’. The ...