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FactFocus Story on Family’s Assets ‘Incorrect’ and ‘False’: Gen Asim Bajwa

-- The retired general will resign as SAPM, will retain CPEC Authority chairmanship

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LAHORE MIRROR (Monitoring Desk)– Prime Minister Imran Khan’s aide on information and China Pakistan Economic Corridor authority chairman Lieutenant General (retired) Asim Bajwa rejected on Thursday the FactFocus story involving his family’s assets as “incorrect” and “false”.

In his statement shared on Twitter, Bajwa said all the adverse insinuations levelled in the news item were “materially false”.

He said his wife was no longer an investor or shareholder in any business on the date of filing of his asset declaration as PM’s aide. The declaration was filed on June 22, 2020.

“My wife had disinvested all her interests as at 01.06.2020 in any entity abroad and such fact has been duly documented in the official records in the USA,” the statement said.

“Since 2002 till 01-06-2020 (i.e. 18 years) the total out of pocket investment made by my wife in the companies of my brothers in the USA has been US$19,492.”

He said this investment was made by his wife through his “savings” spread over a period of 18 years, all of which were fully accounted for.

The assertion that Bajco Global Management, LLC is the parent company of all Bajco-related businesses is “far from truth,” the statement said.

“Bajco Global Management, LLC is not a parent of any company and is only a management company that provides management services to all Bajco-related businesses on a fee basis,” it read. “Bajco Global Management, LLC does not have any ownership interest in any PAPA JHON’S in the USA, DQ, UAE or any real estate.”

The PM’s aide denied the claim that Bajco owns 99 companies. He said the author had listed many companies multiple times in the list. “There a total of 27 active companies in the US and 2 in the UAE,” the statement said.

Bajwa said since 2002, his brothers purchased the franchise and assets related to that and real estate to the tune of $70 million. Out of this $70 million, he said, around $60 million were obtained through bank loans and financial facilities.

Over these 18 years, the PM’s aide said, the actual out of pocket cash investment into the said businesses by his brothers and wife has been about US$73,950. Of this US$73,950, his wife’s contribution was only US$19,492, he said.

The total out of pocket cash contribution of his five brothers, over a period of 18 years, has been US$54,458, according to Bajwa. This was fully accounted for and relatable to their own sources and resources.

He said any further investments by his brothers and his wife were made by reinvesting their share of profits and were fully accounted for too.

The statement mentioned that two of Bajwa’s brothers are qualified doctors and one has been the vice-president of a US Bank. One of his brothers has worked as a controller of a restaurant operating company and another had been an operating partner of a restaurant chain, before starting their own businesses in 2002.

The PM’s aide said none of his brothers was dependent on him and their total out of pocket investment of US$54,458 was “fully documented and justified”.

He described the allegations that the Silkline Enterprises (Pvt) Ltd, owned by two of his brothers, was formed to acquire CPEC contracts as “baseless”.

“It may be stated that this company has never acquired any CPEC contract,” the statement read. “This company is in Rahim Yar Khan and has only provided labour/human resources to industries in rahim Yar Khan region.”

The PM’s aide said one of his sons owns a house in the US which was acquired through mortgage. According to Bajwa, 80% loan/mortgage of his son’s house remains unpaid.

“All my sons are above 18 years and none are my dependents,” he stated. “It shall be noted that my sons completed their business degrees from reputable universities in the United States and have had well-paying jobs.”

Bajwa will resign as PM’s aviser, but retain CPEC Authority chairmanship

Lieutenant General (retired) Asim Bajwa says he would resign as Prime Minister Imran Khan’s special assistant on information and broadcasting.

In an interview with ARY News, Bajwa said he would present his resignation to PM Khan. He, however, said he would retain the post of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Authority chairman.

I wish to pay my full attention to CPEC projects, Bajwa said. CPEC projects are the future of Pakistan.

His decision to resign comes days after FactFocus published a story, claiming that Lt Gen (retired) Bajwa’s family had set up 99 companies in four countries, including a pizza franchise with 133 restaurants.

The website further claimed that his wife is a “shareholder” in at least 86 companies. Of them, 71 were set up in the US, seven in the UAE and four in Canada.

Bajwa has rejected the story on his family’s assets as “incorrect” and “false”.

In his statement shared on Twitter, Bajwa said all the adverse insinuations levelled in the news item were “materially false”.

The former military official had replaced Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan as PM Khan as special assistant on April 27, 2020.

Bajwa served as director general of Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) from 2012 to 2016. He had also served as the commander of Pakistan Army’s southern command.