ISPR says misleading information about COAS Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa is 'exaggerated and based on assumption'
The Inter-services Public Relations (ISPR) has denied claims regarding Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa and his family's assests, saying that the data shared on social media is based on "blatant lies and malice".
“Misleading data regarding the assets of army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and his family have been shared on social media. These misleading figures are exaggerated and based on assumption,” the military's media wing said in a statement released on Sunday.
The statement said that a specific group has very “cleverly and dishonestly” associated the assets of General Bajwa's daughter-in-law's father and family with the army chief and his family.
“An incorrect impression is being created that these assets were created by army chief General Bajwa's family during his six-year tenure. It is totally untrue, based on blatant lies and malice,” the statement read.
The military’s media wing assured that all the assets of the army chief, his wife and his family have been declared to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).
“Army chief and his family regularly file tax return. Like every citizen, the army chief and his family are accountable to the tax authorities for their assets,” it added.
Earlier this week, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar took notice of the "illegal and unwarranted" leakage of tax information of Gen Bajwa's family members.
"This is clearly a violation of the complete confidentiality of tax information that the law provides," a statement from the Finance Division had read.
Given this serious lapse on the part of to-date unknown functionaries, Dar had directed Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Revenue Tariq Mehmood Pasha to personally lead the probe, affix responsibility, and submit a report within 24 hours.
A day later, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar had shared during Geo News programme “Capital Talk” that he had received the interim report related to the leak and traced some people involved in the act.
Dar repeated that leaking the army chief's income tax returns were "illegal". He added that the government has found a few people behind the leak and the issue will reach its logical conclusion.
The finance czar shared that one person involved in the leak is from Lahore and another from Rawalpindi.
However, he added that there is a possibility that some of the individuals involved may have the authorisation to look at the income tax records as there is a "circle" in Rawalpindi where assessments take place.
“These people are authorised to access [data] for their assessment,” said Dar.
The finance minister was of the view that if “illegal work” is allowed or a blind eye is turned towards it then a person will not be fulfilling their duty.
“The law does not allow the release of army chief or anyone else’s income tax returns without a court order,” said the finance minister.