Fawad, Haque tiff takes a new turn


ISLAMABAD: The tiff between top media aides of Prime Minister Imran Khan – Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry and Adviser to PM on Political Affairs Naeemul Haque – on Wednesday took a new twist as the former took to social media site Twitter to take a jibe at the latter.

Fawad Chaudhry made a sarcastic remark over a tweet of Naeemul Haq using a couplet by Mirza Ghalib, “Bana Hay Sheh Ka Masahib Phiray Hay Itrata … Warna Shehr Main Ghalib Ki Aabroo Kya Hay“.

Perhaps, the information minister had taken offence of Naeemul Haque’s tweet, who had commented over an affair of Pakistan Television (PTV) board decision.

“The prime minister has full confidence in the Board of PTV and its management and believes PTV should be an independent organisation like BBC and the government will take all steps necessary towards that end,” the tweet said.

Fawad also spoke to media outside the National Assembly (NA) on Wednesday and dropped a hint on his differences with the PTV chairman. When the minister was asked to comment over his differences with Arshad Khan and PTV Board, the minister responded that he was being disliked by the PTV management as he was asking to protect the workers’ rights and so the PTV board is unhappy over it.

A source in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting told Pakistan Today that the tweet by Haque was taken by the information minister as an intrusion into his domain as PTV falls under him.

When asked to elaborate, the source said that PTV Chairman Arshad Khan had been defying the minister’s orders since day one and he had virtually banned entry of the minister in the PTV.

“Before the appointment of Arshad Khan, Fawad was using the PTV headquarters as his camp office like his other predecessors. However, once the new PTV chairman took over, the information minister was quietly asked to shift to the ministry of information,” the source said.

The source added that Arshad Khan was also directly reporting to the prime minister and this was taken by the information minister as an offence. The source said that Arshad Khan had the full backing of Haque who is very close to the prime minister being his decades-old chum.

“The prime minister has given full powers to Arshad Khan to help revive the PTV as an independent and vibrant media outlet on the pattern of BBC and CNN. So Arshad Khan hardly reports to the information minister,” the source added.

It merits mention that differences between Fawad and Haque are not new. It was Fawad who had replaced Haque when the latter had been removed as Imran Khan’s spokesman on February 11, 2017.

The tiff emerged again on May 11, 2018, when Fawad, as information minister, had rubbished a claim by Haque about money laundering committed by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, terming the figure as ‘unrealistic’.