SINCE 18th MAY 2015:
The FIA illegally seized Axact offices & froze its bank accounts in May, 2015 on the unproven charges made by Declan Walsh in a US-publication, The New York Times. The malicious report alleged that Axact operated a racket of fake degrees. Delan Walsh
did this report while sitting abroad. The reason; he cannot enter Pakistan because he has been black-listed and declared “persona non grata”
by the Interior Ministry. He was expelled from Pakistan in May 2013 because of his “undesirable” activities and false journalism. Walsh is known for his biased, anti-Pakistan views and fake stories aimed to undermine Pakistan’s key institutions and its nuclear programme.
Walsh’s malicious, fabricated & defamatory report
-- already denied by Axact
-- was made viral on the social & Pakistan’s traditional media within a couple of hours of publication. The government moved with an unprecedented haste -- as on cue -- to closedown Axact without any judicial process. The NYT, known for maligning Pakistan, its institutions and businesses, was taken as a sacred scripture to stifle our operations.
The FIA closed Axact’s Islamabad offices within 12 hours of the publication of NYT report
, which fails to give even one credible named source or evidence.
Within 48 hours of the NYT report
, Axact’s head offices in Karachi were seized and occupied by the FIA.
Company’s entire records, computers, servers, printers, valuables and even belongings of the staff remain under the FIA possession to-date in violation of the court orders.
By May 26 Axact’s bank accounts were frozen
and its management, including Chairman Shoaib Ahmed Shaikh & COO Viqas Attiq were arrested without any formal charges.
Since then, the FIA & its lawyers are dragging the case at the behest of their political bosses & a media tycoon, who want to block the launch of Bol by targeting Axact.
The 14 Axactians, arrested in Karachi in May on false charges, have been languishing in prison for more than a year. They are among the country’s top professionals, yet are being treated unjustly.
All these highly qualified, educated professionals -- some of them gold-medalists and position holders from top universities of Pakistan -- have been kept in the “C” category of the prison. All these accused are high taxpayers & yet being treated shabbily. In the same prison, known terrorists and killers are being kept in “A” Class.
The FIA continues to occupy Axact offices in Karachi & Islamabad.
Its officials have removed not just our entire records, servers and computers, but most other electronic gadgets, including flat-screen television sets, dozens of new-brand, high-end mobile telephones, valuables, including personal belongings of the staff.
Apart from the FIA, other government departments and ministries also moved against Axact & the Bol Media Group without any inquiry, trial or conviction. The following discriminatory actions were taken within a week of the publication of the NYT report.
- Within three to four days of the publication of the false report, the Information Technology Ministry suspended Axact’s call center license. Why? On what ground?
- Within three to four days, Axact’s software registration was suspended – again without a charge-sheet or telling us our “crime,” let alone establishing the authenticity of the allegations.
- Within six to seven days, the FBR issued us demand notices without taking into account the fact that it conducted four audits of Axact in recent years. All these were duly cleared. Moreover, Axact on an average paid Rs.50 million monthly just as withholding tax.
- The PEMRA suspended licenses of Bol News and Bol Entertainment illegally and in violation of the High Court orders, which bar the regulator from any such move.
- Within the next few days, the Customs Department launched an unparalleled victimizing campaign of the Bol Media Group, demanding receipts of its equipment despite the fact that all our records have been seized by the FIA.
All these steps were taken while the Axact and Bol Media Group’s founder and CEO Shoaib Ahmed Shaikh and Co-founder and COO Viqas Attiq remain in prison.
The FIA is dragging cases against them. FIA’s delaying tactics manifest from the fact that it delayed even the filing of the formal challan for weeks.
On most hearings, FIA’s private lawyers are either absent or appeal for a new date.
FIA’s intentions are malafied. In one FIR, it accuses Axact owners of bringing in foreign exchange (all through the legal banking channels) by selling the alleged fake degrees, while another recent FIR accused them of transferring Rs170 million abroad through a money changer.
This is perhaps the most bizarre allegation, exposing the contradiction in the fake cases registered against Axact owners. Officially export-oriented businesses are allowed to repatriate one-third of foreign exchange earnings. It makes no sense for Axact owners – who used to bring millions of dollars worth foreign exchange in the country every month – to transfer any amount abroad through a money changer.
The FIA lodged separate FIRs in Karachi and Islamabad under the same charges.
This is unheard of and exposes the prejudice of FIA bosses.
The inclusion of the names of women of the family in FIRs is the most shameful act of harassment given the fact that they have nothing to do with operations of Axact. This underlines the personalized-nature of vendetta and victimization.
Axact staff is also being harassed, threatened and even manhandled by the FIA both in Karachi and Islamabad.
FIA Islamabad illegally confiscated Axact’s more than a dozen vehicles in violation of the court orders. These vehicles are in the personal use of FIA officials. Can we ask them under which law?