Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said Sunday that data on the alleged fortune of outgoing Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa and his family members circulating on social media was “misleading”.
The statement comes days after a report by the investigative news website FactsFocus — which describes itself as a “Pakistan-based digital media news organization working on data-driven investigative news — accused the army chief and his family of amassing assets worth Rs. 12.7 billion over the past six years.
The report cited tax records and wealth statements from the Bajwa family to support its claims of the family’s alleged accumulation of wealth inside and outside Pakistan.
In the statement released today, ISPR said the data was exaggerated based on assumptions.
A certain group sent the assets of Gen. Bajwa’s daughter-in-law’s father and family and linked them in bad faith to the army chief and his family, the statement said.
The military’s media affairs department said it was giving a “false impression” that these assets were acquired by Gen. Bajwa Samdhi during his six-year tenure.
“It is completely untrue and based on blatant lies and malice,” ISPR said. It goes on to say that the assets of General Bajwa, his wife and the rest of his family have been reported to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).
The army chief and his family regularly file their tax returns, the statement said.
“Like any citizen, the army chief and his family are accountable to the tax authorities for their assets,” the statement said.
According to that FactsFocus Report on COAS Bajwa’s family’s alleged tax records, the current market value of the army chief’s known assets and businesses both inside and outside Pakistan is Rs 12.7 billion.
The report also shared the alleged wealth statements of Gen Bajwa and his family from 2013 to 2021.
It has been claimed that Gen Bajwa’s wife, Ayesha Amjad’s fortune has risen from zero in 2016 to Rs 2.2 billion (declared and known) in six years. The report said the amount did not include residential land, commercial land and houses that the army gave to her husband.
The report also claimed that the total value of declared assets of Mahnoor Sabir (General Bajwa’s daughter-in-law) increased from zero in the last week of October 2018 to Rs Zero in 2016 to “billions” in 2017. Additionally, Sabir Hameed – the father-in-law of the army chief’s son – had tax returns of less than a million in 2013, but “in the coming years he became a billionaire,” the claimant said site.
According to the publication, it has not been possible to obtain data on assets on behalf of Gen. Bajwa’s two sons.
Shortly after the report was released, Treasury Secretary Ishaq Dar said the leak “clearly violates the full confidentiality of tax information provided for by the law” and ordered an investigation.
Last week, Dar said Tuesday the FBR had identified the identities of the people who leaked the tax records.
In conversation with the journalist Hamid Mir further geo news On the Capital Talk programme, the minister said: “We have found clues [behind the leak]. One is from Lahore and one from Rawalpindi.”
He explained that there was a possibility that some of the people involved might have permission to see the income tax records as there is a “district” in Rawalpindi where assessments take place.
At the same time, the finance minister stressed that the law does not allow disclosing the records of anyone’s income tax returns without a court order, be it the army chief or an ordinary man.