The Prime Minister has instituted a new information dream team, consisting of Lt Gen (r) Asim Saleem Bajwa as Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information, whereas Senator Shibli Faraz has been appointed as Information Minister.

Though highly important during routine times, the information portfolio has become all the more crucial during the coronavirus pandemic, as the government must communicate regularly with citizens and disseminate critical information. If Senator Shibli Faraz’s appearances on talk shows and the Senate floor are anything to go by, he can get his point across with a dignified and effective tone and tenor. Meanwhile, Lt Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa enjoys a professional reputation, and is regarded with great respect. It is expected that with the Minister and the new SAPM, the troubles of genuine media will improve, and government dues that have yet to be paid to media houses will be released.

There is no doubt that Pakistan’s messaging internally on COVID-19, and externally on the continued Indian atrocities in Kashmir, repeated violations on the Line of Control (LoC), and the cruel discrimination against Muslims in India requires a streamlined and potent media response. The new team is well equipped to deliver that.

The Prime Minister’s familiarity with media must also be bolstered, and his voice must reach the Pakistani people to motivate them and support them during this time of national crisis. The Information team of Mr Shibli Faraz and Lt Gen Asim Bajwa can provide crucial insight and advice for the Prime Minister. In a challenging time for all Pakistanis, the media is the voice of the government to the people, and the voice of the people to the government. Both sides of the flow must be repaired and restored.