Arslan Zafar, who is working as an Additional Director Market Surveillance at the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), was on Wednesday reported involved in sharing with the media some data related to the companies of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority Chairman Lt Gen (retd) Asim Saleem Bajwa and his family.
A report aired by news channel ARY News claimed that Zafar leaked the data related to the companies to the media. After an article about the Bajwa family and their business in the US went viral, SECP Chairman Amir Khan Chairman had ordered an initial inquiry into the matter. Arslan Zafar was founded to have links with some media channels, retired army officers of the RAW, and some other sources, claimed ARY News.
Notably, Arslan Zafar is the son of Zafar Hijazi. Hijazi was appointed to a key position at the SECP by Ishaq Dar, PML-N’s leader, and former finance minister. Hijazi was accused of record tempering a few years ago when a case against the Chaudhary Sugar Mills was being probed.
Is the information about top functionaries of #Pakistan accessible to #Indians ?Who are the moles within? Nexus of a political party, #RAW /#IndianMilitary & few journalists. Shocking timeline of circumstantial evidence. What are your views? #AsimBajwa #AsimSaleemBajwa pic.twitter.com/k4OYXypJWw
— Arshad Sharif (@arsched) September 17, 2020
On 21st July, Zafar reportedly obtained the data on the Bajwa family businesses and shared them with the media. Interestingly, after four days —on July 25— a retired major of the Indian Army, named Gaurav Arya, shared the details of the Bajwa family business on YouTube. Arshad Sharif, a prominent Pakistani journalist, questioned if Zafar had direct links with the Indian agencies or gave information to them through Ishaq Dar.
What really happened?
The news report on the alleged business dealings of Asim Saleem Bajwa was decidedly rebuffed last month after it emerged that the journalist responsible for writing the report had actually been relying on the testimony of a notorious social media influencer with deep ties to the Indian Army.
According to several videos shared on social networking platform Twitter by users around the world, Ahmed Noorani, the journalist who wrote the now-debunked expose without revealing his sources, had relied on a video made by a retired major of the Indian Army.
The report, published on a propaganda website named FactFocus, intended to develop a correlation between Bajwa’s rise in his professional career and the rise of his family’s business. However, investigative reporters across the country stressed that the allegations were baseless since Noraani did not publish documents to back his claims.
After the report was published, an outcry ensued on social media, with trolls and bot accounts backed by the Indian establishment working overtime to expand the reach of the story and trying to make up for the gaps in the arguments of Noorani by simply trying to get the story out to as many people as possible.
Arya notorious for spreading misinformation
However, Pakistani users were having none of it. Soon after the story had been published, several leading journalists had offered their frank analysis on the report, urging Pakistanis to be mindful of the fact that Noorani had actually copied ‘word for word’ what Arya had said in his video. The video by Arya had been uploaded more than a month back.
Major Gaurav Arya is infamous for spreading lies and rumors against Pakistan. A few months ago, he shared a video clip and claimed that it showed members of the paramilitary Frontier Corps being thrashed by Pakistan Army personnel after the former had deserted their post when attacked by terrorists. Later on, it was revealed that Arya’s claims were false.
Major Gaurav is also involved in propaganda against the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. He recently claimed that the entire venture is a failure. He also claimed that the Chinese are seeking a way out of this agreement. Arya often makes these claims without any evidence to back them, leading experts to question his motives for doing so.