Maleeha Lodhi seeks 3-month contract for close aide Masood Anwar


ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN) Dr Maleeha Lodhi has requested Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan to give a three-month contract to her “blue eyed” former press minister Masood Anwar.

A copy of a letter available with Pakistan Today states that there has been no press minister in the permanent mission of Pakistan to the UN for the past 10 months.

“In view of the current extraordinary situation in our region, the presence of a press minister in the permanent mission of Pakistan is urgent to highlight and project Pakistan’s perspective and the plight of Kashmiris in the local and international media in New York and at the UN which has journalists accredited to global media outlets in multiple regions and languages”, the letter stated.

“In view of the above, our requirement is for a press minister who can get to work immediately, have prior experience of working at the UN, knowledge of a UN language other than English and has already established contacts with UN accredited media persons, the letter further stated.

“As the previous incumbent, Masood Anwar, is already in the US on a private visit and has agreed to join us for three months, it is recommended that he be given a three-month contract for the post of press minister on the same terms and conditions. He qualifies on all the conditions mentioned above.  In view of our urgent requirement and the extraordinary situation, an early decision will be appreciated,” the letter concluded.

It is pertinent to mention here that former Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government had extended Anwar’s contract as the press minister five times on Maleeha request.

Masood Anwar, a retired bureaucrat of the information group, was working as press minister since June 2016. His last contract ended on September 30, 2018.

According to law, a prime minister can extend the contract of officers working abroad in the Pakistan mission. In the past, Maleeha managed to extend the contract of Anwar due to her close association with former premier Nawaz Sharif.