A notification dated Jan 15 issued by the Cabinet Division states that Gondal’s appointment “shall be in honorary capacity” and with immediate effect.
Gondal, a former PPP leader and a political heavyweight, had joined the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf last year. He was appointed as the prime minister’s official spokesperson yesterday ─ a move that came as a surprise because he is a newcomer to the party and there are several senior PTI leaders who could have been considered potentials for the slot but were not.
The prime minister’s hefty media team already comprised Iftikhar Durrani, the PM’s Special Assistant on Media with the status of a minister of state; Yousuf Baig Mirza, the PM’s Special Assistant on Media Affairs; Muhammad Sarfaraz, a deputy secretary and head of the PM’s official media cell; and Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, the government spokesman.
However, despite the presence of these heavyweights, prime minister Khan has in the past tended not to rely on them and expressed his views directly through tweets.
A source in the Prime Minister’s Office said that Gondal would be working as the premier’s spokesman on an honorary basis without a salary or other perks.
Gondal, also known as Nadeem Afzal Chan, joined the PTI in April last year, shortly before the July 25 general elections.
Before this, he was counted as one of the main leaders of the PPP in Punjab and was fairly vocal in the media in defending the policies of his party, presently in opposition.
He served as the chairman of the National Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee for nearly a year, from April 25, 2012, to March 16, 2013.
He began his political career as a tehsil nazim from Malakwal in 2001. Subsequently, he was elected MNA from NA-64 (Sargodha-I) as a PPP candidate in the 2008 general election. During the next election, in 2013, he contested again from the same constituency and platform, but was defeated by Muhammad Aminul Hasnat Shah.
In October 2017, he resigned from the post of PPP Punjab secretary general, going on to quit the party itself in April 2018, and joined the PTI.