ISLAMABAD - The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf on Monday appointed Fawad Hussain Chaudhry, the spokesperson of the party, as its central information secretary replacing senior party leader and member of the National Assembly Shafqat Mahmood.

A meeting of the PTI’s Core Committee held under the chair of party chief Imran Khan decided to appoint Fawad Chaudhry as the central information secretary, said a statement issued by the PTI’s central media department.

Chaudhry was earlier performing duties as PTI spokesperson and has also served as spokesperson of General (r) Pervez Musharraf in the past.

“Mr Chaudhry will head all print, electronic and social media departments of the party and communicate with the media as per party policy,” said the central media department.

The statement said that the new secretary information would monitor all media operations of the party and also evaluate the performance of all of its media departments.

The sources within the PTI said that Shafqat Mahmood, the other day, had resigned from the position of information secretary with the request to the leadership to relieve him of his duties. The sources further said that Mahmood had conveyed to the leadership that he wanted to give more time to his constituency ahead of the next general elections.

He had also resigned from the same position before the 2013 General Elections citing same reasons.

Furthermore, the PTI has recently appointed Shafqat Mahmood as the head of Central Anti-Corruption and Accountability Cell of the party to identify cases of corruption of rival parties in the provinces and at the federal level.

An office-bearer of the PTI’s central secretariat said that Mahmood had requested the leadership that two positions would make him overwork at a time when he wanted to give time to his constituency.

Shafqat Mahmood, a Harvard graduate and an elected member of the National Assembly from Lahore, had been appointed at this position in May 2017 by replacing Naeemul Haq.

Previously, he had served as the party’s information secretary from December 2011 to March 2013.

He quit the post to contest the general elections of 2013 on PTI ticket.

Mahmood, a former senator of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and civil servant, during his tenure as information secretary for the second time only remained limited to representing party in TV current affairs programmes or issuing policy statements through party’s media department.

He like his successor Neemul Haq, rarely interacted with the media persons covering the PTI and the task had been given to Iftikhar Durrani, the head of the PTI’s central media department, to liaison with the journalists covering politics. On the other hand, the party sources said that Chairman Imran Khan was very satisfied with the performance of Fawad Chaudhry as the spokesperson, — a reason for his elevation as the information secretary. Former secretary general PTI Jahangir Khan Tareen had played a key role in the appointment of Chaudhry as spokesperson at a time when the party was contesting the Panama Papers case before the Supreme Court.

Chaudhry though is considered very aggressive and confrontational in his style, especially on social media, yet unlike his successors; he remains available to the newsmen all the time.

Some party leaders had objected to the choice of Tareen and had raised hue and cry over his appointment as chief spokesperson in the past but later, Imran Khan became satisfied with the performance of Chaudhry with the way the latter defended the party before media in the cases against Chairman Imran Khan and the party, being heard by the Supreme Court and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

Separately, the Core Committee that was held in Bani Gala also decided to appoint PTI’s Deputy Secretary General Murad Saeed as spokesperson of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government.

The meeting also decided to appoint spokespersons in all four provinces to monitor media affairs. Fawad Chaudhry will head the team of spokespersons.

Regarding new membership of party in Karachi, a committee headed by Dr Arif Alvi was constituted during the meeting.

According to the statement, the meeting expressed satisfaction over the success of ‘Billion Tree Tsunami’ and other projects of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government.

The PTI also expressed contentment over the impacts of reforms in police, health and education sectors in the KP. The participants also lauded Supreme Court’s suo motu notice over police encounters in the Punjab and decided to become a party in the police encounter cases.