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Saturday, February 4, 2023

FactFocus Expose: Bajwa’s Wife Played Cat and Mouse with Tax Authorities

By A Correspondent

(Image, courtesy FactFocus)

Pakistani investigative journalism website FactFocus gave General Bajwa a sour sendoff on the eve of his retirement by releasing more embarrassing details of his wife’s “cat and mouse game” with Pakistan’s tax authorities for four years. The new story followed up on an earlier explosive report on the assets of Bajwa’s family.

According to the website, official documents revealed that to reconcile her wealth statements during the years 2016 to 2020, the FBR carried out protracted and hectic correspondence with General Bajwa’s wife, Ayesha Amjad.

“FBR remained unable to convince Ayesha to file tax returns for the years 2014 and 2015 and provide evidence of sources of income for the assets she was buying,” the report said. Ultimately, it added, FBR came to know who Ayesha Amjad was and stopped making any further questions to the army chief’s wife as she “continued to add more properties to her list without being accountable.”

FactFocus repeatedly reached out to Major General Babar Iftikhar, Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (DG-ISPR) to get the version of the COAS but to no avail.

“In various letters dispatched to the Chief’s spouse, the FBR showed dissatisfaction with the source of income, mode of acquisition, concealment of properties, and transfer of assets as gifts from her spouse,” it added. However, in the end, the FBR closed their proceedings abruptly as they deemed that all the discrepancies found in the wealth statements of the Chief’s spouse had “duly been settled”.

The report said the FBR’s initial notice was based on a “misunderstanding” in the bureau asking Ayesha to furnish evidence of receiving a gift from her spouse. Some of the properties declared by Ayesha in 2016, her first-ever tax return and wealth statement, were transferred from the wealth statement of her husband to her wealth statement. She declared it a “gift” and FBR officials started asking her about documentary evidence of receiving a gift through the proper channel. However, this matter was resolved. Notices were also issued to Ayesha asking her for evidence of tax deductions, and non-declaration of purchase of a property.

Click here for the full report with documentary evidence.

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