LAHORE    -   In a surprising development, Punjab chief minister‘s spokesperson Dr Shahbaz Gill resigned from his office on Friday, leaving trails of questions about his abrupt removal.

Sources said that Gill did not resign voluntarily as he was forced to resign after he incited the ire of the chief minister and a large number of PTI workers and leaders over his actions and statements which lacked approval of his political boss.

Though several reasons can be attributed to Gill’s resignation, his recent presser asking PTI leaders to leave the party if they did not like Usman Buzdar’s face became the immediate reason for his dismissal.

Sources close to the chief minister said that Shahbaz Gill was overstepping his role as the CM’s spokesperson in many ways. He even seemed to have overshadowed the chief minister by his frequent statements which he would issue without approval of his boss. Gill was not being invited at important meetings for the last two weeks, said the sources.

Also, some key ministers in Usman Buzdar’s cabinet were not happy with Mr Gill’s role as CM’s spokesperson. They saw diarchy of roles in the presence of an information minister and CM’s spokesperson. They believed that there was no need for keeping a spokesperson in the presence of an information minister who is supposed to act as government’s spokesperson.

Sources privy to the development said that Chief Minister Usman Buzdar sought approval of Gill’s removal as his spokesperson from Prime Minister Imran Khan in his last meeting with the premier at Islamabad couple of days back. Interestingly, Shahbaz Gill’s controversial press conference at Lahore came the same day when the prime minister and the chief minister had discussion about his fate.

In his tweets, Gill did not give any specific reason about his resignation. Gill tweeted earlier on Friday afternoon that he had taken an important decision about self and will be sharing the same with his followers soon. The sources said that Gill still enjoyed confidence of Prime Minister Imran Khan and he might be given some assignment at the federal level in the days to come.

Earlier, a Chief Minister Usman Buzdar’s decision in March this year to empower his spokesperson to inspect government departments on his behalf had also irked the civil bureaucracy. The chief minister’s office had then directed the top civil and police officers to facilitate Mr Gill for the inspection of provincial departments. Senior officers had then viewed Gill’s role as unlawful as he was neither a government official nor an elected representative of the people.

Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister on Friday also removed Awn Chaudhry as his adviser replacing him with Asif Mehmood. Asif would advise the chief minister on affairs related to Punjab Horticulture Authorities and Tourism.

Separately, Chief Minister Buzdar Friday added yet another minister to his cabinet. Acting Punjab Governor Ch Parvez Elahi administered oath to Malik Asad Khokhar as the provincial minister at the Governor House on Friday evening. His portfolio would be announced later. With the appointment of Asad Khokhar, the total number of ministers in chief minister’s cabinet has risen to 36.