Reports about an alleged corruption scandal of retired Lieutenant General Asim Bajwa who is Special Assistant to Prime Minister Imran Khan on Information and Broadcasting are circulating on social media. Bajwa who is also chairman of CPEC (China Pakistan Economic Corridor) has condemned the respective report as a malicious propaganda against his family.
The article published in FactFocus claims that Bajwa and his family co-owns 99 companies, 130 frenchises, 13 common properties in different countries of the world. If the report proves to be true then the details of the property appear to be in strong contradiction with Bajwa’s asset declaration.
Reportedly, over 130 branches of a restaurant chain, Papa John’s Pizza are owned by Bajwa’s brothers, his wife, and his sons. Moreover, this family also has two shopping malls and 13 commercial properties registered in the US with 99 companies established in four countries.
According to the facts provided in the article, his brothers opened their branch in 2002 when Bajwa joined former President Pervaiz Musharraf as a lieutenant colonel. His ranks and business collectively grew throughout the years until he finally became the chairman of CPEC. His real-time wealth, businesses, and properties were all discussed in this article which started a social media rampage against him. He responded in a tweet to deny the investigations done by the article’s author.
Expansion in Asim Bajwa’s Business
According to the report, Asim Bajwa’s brother Nadeem Bajwa worked as a delivery boy for Papa John’s Pizza in the US. Within a few years, he became the owner of 133 branches due to an undisclosed strategy. This was at the beginning of Asim Bajwa’s political career in Pakistan. When his sons joined the Bajco Group in 2015, they opened up more companies separate from the Bajco Group business in Pakistan and the US.
Asim Bajwa’s wife Farrukh Zeba who has no experience in business whatsoever is a shareholder in 85 companies of Bajwa family. The 13 commercial properties and two malls were purchased through these companies which makes Mrs. Zeba’s estimated net worth equal to 52.7 million USD.
It contradicts what Asim Bajwa had originally stated in his declaration of wealth and assets. As the article revealed, he clearly wrote “Nil” in the “Business Capital Outside Pakistan” box. During his appointment as the SAPM, he only declared 31 lakh rupees in his wife’s name and categorically denied any other business or property outside Pakistan.
Public Asking Asim Bajwa to Give Money Trail
The story raised serious concerns among the public because CPEC is a massive Chinese funded project regarding infrastructure so there must be some reliable people in control. Plus this is not the only concern, perhaps the bigger concern is that the government’s so-called fight against corruption didn’t include Asim Bajwa. An expert on military affairs wanted to know Chinese authority’s take on this development.
The article suggested that the businesses of the Bajwa family were named as Bajco Group. They spend around 52.2 million USD on developing their businesses and 14.5 million USD to purchase different properties in the US. Opponents of Pakistani’s ruling party (PTI) are now reminding Imran Khan of his statement when he criticized politicians for investing in foreign countries.
Politicians from opposition parties are demanding the removal of Asim Bajwa and asking for a fair trial.
Truth or An Attempt to Implicate CPEC?
Statement from PTI’s Twitter handle suggested that the news was an attempt to sabotage CPEC by Indian proxies and there was no truth to it.
The respose left people surprised on what a corruption scandal of an individual would have to do with the credibility of an international level project. Huma leader from AWP condemned the government for making up conspiracy theories to protect Asim Bajwa from accountability.
People are stating that it was ironic for PM Imran Khan to actively lead the campaign against those he personally deemed corrupt but ignoring the appeal from the public which is demanding a balanced justice system.