PeshawarPakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) candidate for the Senate from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Faisal Saleem, has been in the past with the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) with an inquiry into the illicit trade in cigarettes.
In his tweet, Federal Minister Fawad Chaudhry confirmed Faisal Saleem as the ruling party’s candidate for the general seat from the province. In April 2019, the FBR sealed Faisal Saleem’s factory in Buner to manufacture ‘counterfeit’ cigarettes.
Faisal Saleem, vice chairman of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Board of Investment and Trade (KP-BOIT), alleged that the FBR was merely blackmailing him. He denied having an illegal cigarette company, while the FBR maintained that the factory was registered in Mardan and owned by Faisal Saleem’s family.
The FBR reported that the Buner factory was involved in the manufacture of ‘fake’ brands. The RTO then sealed the factory. According to some media reports, when the RTO raided the factory in Buner, it found counterfeit cigarettes belonging to two multinational and one local tax-paying companies.
Although Faisal Saleem refused to join the company but was not affected by his claim, the FIA issued a notice in 2020 stating that the factory had damaged the public treasury by producing counterfeit cigarettes ۔
An official notice said, “The FIA Anti-Corruption, Peshawar Circle is investigating the registration in this office, seeking legal action against KP-BOIT vice-chairman Faisal Saleem for illegal business.” To manufacture counterfeit cigarettes and sabotage BOI investment policies.
According to an FBR official, he had calculated a loss of Rs. 65 million in compensation to government recipients due to an illegal factory run by Saleem Cigarette Industries registered in Mardan. At the time, Faisal Saleem said his family’s company had stopped manufacturing cigarettes in 2018. He also said that his family’s business is in Mardan and has nothing to do with Buner. He said he was trying to bring investment to the province.
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