ISLAMABAD: The military establishment on Sunday condemned what it called ‘misleading’ tax details of the outgoing army chief that recently went viral on social media and said that assets of Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa’s relatives had been ‘wrongly’ shown in his tax returns.

In a statement, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said: “The data was being exaggerated on the basis of assumptions.”

The statement comes days after a report by FactFocus, a website which describes itself as a Pakistan-based digital organisation working on data-based investigative news stories, accused the outgoing army chief and his family of amassing assets worth Rs12.7 billion over the past six years.

The military spokesman said that a “false impression” was being given that these assets were acquired by Gen Bajwa’s samdhi (father of Bajwa’s son’s wife) during his six-year tenure.

FactFocus in a report accused outgoing army chief, family of amassing assets worth Rs12.7bn over past six years

“It is totally untrue and based on blatant lies and malice,” the ISPR said, adding that the assets of Gen Bajwa, his wife and the rest of his family had been declared to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).

The military spokesman said the army chief and his family have declared all their assets and were regularly paying taxes to FBR.

A certain group has cleverly, and with ill-intent, linked the assets of the father and family of Gen Bajwa’s daughter-in-law with the army chief and his family, the statement said.

“Like every citizen, the army chief and his family are answerable to the tax authorities for their assets,” the ISPR said.

According to the FactFocus report, the current market value of the known assets and business of the army chief, both within and outside Pakistan, amounted to Rs12.7bn.

Shortly after the report was published, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said the leak was “clearly violative of the complete confidentiality of tax information that the law provides” and ordered an investigation.

Later, Mr Dar said the FBR had traced the identities of people who had leaked the tax records.

While talking during a Geo News programme, the minister said: “We have found traces [behind the leak]. One is from Lahore and one is from Rawalpindi.”

He said 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.

Published in Dawn, November 28th, 2022

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