Just days before Gen. Qamar Bajwa retired (in November last year), leaked tax records of his family showed its members had amassed assets worth 12.7 billion Pakistani rupees (PKR) during Bajwa’s tenure as army chief. The Finance Minister was unusually quick to order a probe, not into the billions reportedly made by the Bajwa family but how the tax information got leaked. Some heads also rolled as the minister said the leak was “clearly violative of the complete confidentiality of tax information that the law provides”. But what about the billions the Bajwa family is alleged to have made? Well, mum’s the word, at least from the government.
Many seemed to know what was going on all these years but chose to remain silent. But FactFocus, which describes itself as a “Pakistan-based digital media news organisation working on data-based investigative news stories, did not.
The FactFocus report, which examined the family’s tax records, claimed that family members had assets amounting to PKR 12.7 billion acquired during Bajwa’s term. It claimed that the assets of Ayesha Amjad went from zero in 2016 to PKR 2.2 billion (declared and known) in six years.
As journalist Ahmad Noorani of FactFocus wrote in the report: When Qamar Javed Bajwa became a lieutenant general, his wife was not even a tax filer. His closest friend in Lahore, Sabir “Mithu” Hameed, was a good businessman but not a billionaire. Everything changed for both families as they moved ahead and became one family.
Within six years, both families became billionaires, started an international business, purchased multiple foreign properties, started transferring capital abroad, became owners of commercial plazas, commercial plots, huge farmhouses in Islamabad and Karachi, an immense real estate portfolio in Lahore, and so on. The current market value of the—known—assets and businesses within Pakistan and outside accumulated by the Bajwa family during the last six years is more than PKR 12.7 billion, the report said.
In his returns for 2013, Qamar Javed Bajwa had declared that his wife had three properties—two in Lahore and one in Islamabad with a declared value of PKR 70,00,000.
However, after being appointed Army Chief, Gen. Bajwa revised the wealth statement for 2013 three times: on September 17, 2017, November 02, 2017 and November 08, 2017. In the revised wealth statement, Gen. Bajwa added a commercial plot in Lahore. He claimed that he had purchased this plot back in 2013 but forgot to declare it.
Ayesha Amjad, Gen. Bajwa’s wife, registered as a tax filer on August 10, 2016, according to the report. Her husband was to be considered for the post of army chief in November 2016. The 2016 annual return and wealth statement was her first-ever declaration which was originally submitted on October 28, 2016, just three weeks before Bajwa was appointed army chief.
In her 2016 declaration, Ayesha Amjad declared eight “Any Other Assets” without describing them. This statement was revised on April 17, 2018. Ayesha declared that the net value of her assets during the previous financial year, 2015, was zero.
In 2021, Ayesha declared 11 properties (accumulated over the years) as well as cash, bonds, ornaments, money in bank accounts, and foreign currency. The report claimed the market value of the assets to be PKR 2.2 billion.
The report also alleged that the total worth of the declared assets of Mahnoor Sabir (Gen. Bajwa’s daughter-in-law) jumped from zero in last week of October 2018 to PKR 1,271 million on November 2, 2018, while the assets of Mahnoor’s sister Hamna Naseer went from zero in 2016 to “billions” by 2017. Furthermore, the tax returns of Sabir Hameed—Gen. Bajwa’s son’s father-in-law—were less than a million in 2013 but “in the coming years, he became a billionaire”, the website claimed.
The publication said it was unable to obtain data about assets in the name of Gen. Bajwa’s two sons. And the amount of PKR 12.7 billion excludes what Gen. Bajwa acquired from the government, the army, the DHAs, etc for being a major general, lieutenant general, and as chief of army staff, according to the FactFocus report.
As they say: all in the family, the General’s family!