KARACHI: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has said that the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has traced the identities of those who leaked the tax records of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s family members, Dawn.com reported on Tuesday.

In an interview with journalist Hamid Mir on Geo News, the minister said that he had seen the interim report on the matter and expected the final report to be submitted by tonight.

“We have found traces [behind the leak]. One is from Lahore and one is from Rawalpindi,” Dar said.

He stated that there was a possibility that some of the individuals involved may have the authorisation to look at the income tax records as there was a “circle” in Rawalpindi where assessments took place.

Mr Dar also stressed that the law doesn’t give permission to leak the record of income tax returns of anyone, whether it was the army chief or a common man, without court orders.

“This is a violation of our system and the law […] the system’s accuracy and strength have been challenged,” the finance czar said.

Mr Dar subsequently vowed that the government “will bring this to a logical conclusion”, adding that turning a blind eye to the issue would be a violation of his responsibilities.

Earlier this week, a report by investigative news website FactFocus — which describes itself as a “Pakistan-based digital media news organisation working on data-based investigative news stories — accused the army chief and his family of amassing assets worth Rs12.7 billion over the past six years.

The report cited tax records and wealth statements of the Bajwa family to corroborate its claims about the alleged accumulation of assets by the family inside and outside Pakistan.

Taking a notice of the report, the finance minister on Monday had said that the leak was “clearly violative of the complete confidentiality of tax information that the law provides”.

He had also instructed Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Revenue Tariq Mehmood Pasha to personally lead an immediate investigation into the violation of tax law[s] and breach of FBR data, affix responsibility and submit a report within 24 hours.

Published in Dawn, November 23rd, 2022

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