Asim Bajwa (File photo) Photograph:( Twitter )
Investigations by FactFocus began recently into the assets accumulated by Bajwa`s family during the military career of the retired general
The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), the country's financial regulatory agency, has deleted the records of five of six companies owned by China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Chairman Lt Gen (retd) Asim Saleem Bajwa's family members, FactFocus reported.
Investigations by FactFocus began recently into the assets accumulated by Bajwa`s family during the military career of the retired general.
The five firms whose data was removed belonged to Bajwa's son while one company, whose data remained throughout on the website belonged to his brothers.The development was reported by FactFocus on August 27.
However, the five companies' records were restored on the SECP website after a few weeks. This is a significant yet bizarre incident where a government agency is responsible for regulating all firms in Pakistan and its nature of work should not meddle with politics.
Even SECP Chairman Amir Khan refused to comment when asked if he knew that the records were deleted and whether the person was ordered to do so.
"You better contact the chief spokesperson of the SECP and this is the protocol that we follow," Amir Khan said.
When reminded that he was also the SECP's chief spokesperson along with the chairman of the commission, Amir Khan instead said the media section of SECP should be contacted.
FactFocus had made photographic copies of the SECP website on July 21, which included the records of companies owned by Bajwa's sons in Pakistan and other countries. Original photographs of some of the records were to be used as attachments so that readers will be able to view the details and verify the dates of capturing digital evidence by checking the files' properties.
However, during the Eid-ul-Zuha festival, the SECP removed the records of the companies owned by Bajwa`s sons — Muhammad Saleem Bajwa, Eusha Saleem Bajwa and Azib Saleem Bajwa.
On August 3, the first working day after Eid, FactFocus noticed the deletion of records from the site and continued checking it from different computers and places across the world. The result was the same — all the records of these companies disappeared.
Despite repeated reminders to the SECP chairman, no response has been received so far.Silkline Enterprises (Pvt) Ltd is the sixth company of the Bajwa family, which was listed on the SECP website but its data remained on the site throughout. This was the only company that belonged to Bajwa's brothers.
Earlier this month, Bajwa announced that he will step down as the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) Imran Khan on information and broadcasting following corruption allegations against him.
The development came after an investigative report by Pakistani journalist Ahmed Noorani alleged properties and business worth millions of Bajwa and his close family members in Pakistan and abroad.
The report claimed that Bajwa's brothers, wife and two sons own a business empire, which has set up 99 companies in four countries including a pizza franchise with 133 restaurants worth an estimated USD 39.9 million.