ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) Friday appointed its senior leader and member of the National Assembly Shafqat Mahmood as the new secretary information replacing an old party guard Naeemul Haq in an apparent move of the party to gear up for the next general election.

Former secretary information PTI Naeemul Haq has been appointed as Chief of Staff to the Chairman PTI.

Chairman PTI Imran Khan has approved both these appointments and two separate notifications in this regard have been issued, said Iftikhar Durrani, head of PTI’s Central Media Department.

“PTI faces mammoth tasks during this election year. I am honoured to be asked by Chairman Imran Khan to become his Chief of Staff once again,” Naeemul Haq took to the twitter soon after he was given new assignment by the party chief.

However, some insiders within PTI insist that certain party leaders were criticising the appointment of Naeemul Haq as the secretary information for some time saying that he was not interacting with the media actively and was not vocal to the extent that secretary information should be.

Iftikhar Durrani dispelled the impression and said that the decision had been made because the Chairman Secretariat was becoming overburdened with each passing day as the next general election is coming near. Naeemul Haq has also performed his duties on this position in the past and he has the experience to carrying out this job in a professional manner. We are gearing up for the next elections and the chairman secretariat has to carry out a difficult task of issuance of tickets for the candidates and Haq has the guts to handle all these things, he said.

Shafqat Mahmood is a former bureaucrat and also had the experience of journalism being a columnist. He remained associated with the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) for years and was once a close aide to former Prime Minister and PPP leader late Benazir Bhutto. He also remained senator on the PPP ticket in 1990’s.

After assassination of Benazir Bhutto, he later left PPP feeling that the senior party leader ignored him. Mahmood joined PTI in 2011 and elected member of the National Assembly from NA-126 (Lahore-IX) on PTI ticket in the general election of 2013.