How exactly Axact channel is run, asks SC -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

How exactly Axact channel is run, asks SC

Pakistan Press Foundation

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday questioned the sources of income of Axact, the controversial IT company, and sought its tax records of last 10 years.

The court also questioned the financial sources of BOL TV, as he it has not been getting any advertisements. “How it is sustaining itself,” the CJ asked.

A three-member SC bench, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, resumed hearing in the suo motu case regarding Axact fake degrees scandal.

On Jan 18, the chief justice took a suo motu notice of the Axact fake degrees. Axact claims to be the “world’s largest IT company” and operates hundreds of fake online universities through agents from a Karachi-based call centre.

Last month, during the course of hearing, the CJ observed that nation’s “heads were bowed in shame” because of the fake degree scandal of Axact and had warned that anyone found associated with the Axact fake degree scandal would not be spared.

On Tuesday, the court directed Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to submit complete details pertaining to last 10 years of tax records of Axact.

The court also warned the employees of Labiak (BOL TV) that if they try to interrupt the court proceedings next time, they will not be allowed to enter the court building. The chief justice gave warning when some of the senior journalists, associated with BOL TV standing with the counsel, started addressing the court.

“Next time, I will not allow you to enter the court premises if you interrupt the court proceedings. Your lawyer is arguing, so you should not interrupt,” the CJ asked journalists. Shahab Sarki, counsel for BOL TV, however, apologised to the court for the conduct of the journalists.

He submitted that there were two companies including Axact, which is meant for exporting IT software, and the other is Labaik (Pvt) Limited with BOL TV. The CJ questioned as to what are the financial sources of BOL TV, as he said it was not getting any advertisements. Then how it was sustaining itself, the CJ asked.

“We have to see about your financing and suggests that the Federal Board of Revenue may be assigned the task to make audit of the company,” the CJ said. The counsel, however, said that an independent body should be tasked to make the audit of the company. At this, the CJ said that the owner of the company should not worry of the probe if he was innocent and after that he should be happy for being cleared.

Nazir Lehagri, a journalist associated with BOL TV, said that the chief executive was in jail and was not yet granted bail. “I did not put him in the jail,” the CJ said adding that if he had done wrong he would be in jail and if not, he would come out.

“You have to tell us what genuinely you have exported so far,” Justice Umer Ata Bandyal, another member of the bench, asked the counsel for BOL. “There are serious allegations against you and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has endorsed those allegations,” Justice Bandyal added.

Later, the court adjourned the hearing for date-in-office. Earlier, Jam Asif, representing Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) submitted that the company Labiak has paid capital of Rs7 million and broadcast no advertisements and yet are able to pay their employees salaries that are many times more than the market value which is financially and from a business perspective, completely unfeasible.

This, by self, the counsel said was a matter of great concern as they strongly apprehend that ill-gotten resources that been acquired through fraud and fake degrees are being pumped into the media which has compromised the independence of the entire media in Pakistan.

He further contended that members of the Pakistan Broadcasters Association became rightly alarmed and they complained to PEMRA and other government functionaries to take not of this blatant flow of crime proceeds into media industry of Pakistan. Upon this, the counsel said that Axact used its channel BOL to launch attacks on PBA members.

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