PESHAWAR: Faisal Saleem, one of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s candidates for Senate from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, has the past with the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) inquiries into his alleged illegal cigarette business. In his tweet, Federal Minister Fawad Chaudhry confirmed Faisal Saleem as the ruling party candidate for the general seat from the province. In April 2019, the FBR sealed Faisal Saleem’s factory in Buner for manufacturing ‘counterfeit’ cigarettes. Faisal Saleem, who was the vice-chairman of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Board of Investment and Trade (KP-BOIT), had alleged that FBR was simply blackmailing him. He had denied owning the illegal cigarette company while the FBR’s stance was that the factory was being run a company, registered in Mardan and owned by the family of Faisal Saleem. The FBR reported that the Buner factory was involved in manufacturing the ‘counterfeit’ brands. Then RTO had sealed the factory. According to some media reports, when the RTO raided the factory in Buner, he found forged cigarettes of two multinational and one local taxpaying companies. Even though Faisal Saleem denied his involvement in the company, not impressed by his claim, FIA issued a notice in 2020 stating that the factory had caused loss to the government exchequer through manufacturing ‘counterfeit’ cigarettes. An official notice stated that “FIA Anti-Corruption, Peshawar Circle, is conducting an inquiry being registered at this office, in which initiation of legal action has been requested against Faisal Saleem, the vice-chairman of the KP-BOIT for the illegal business of manufacturing counterfeit cigarettes and sabotaging BOI’s investment policies.” According to the FBR official, they had calculated an Rs65 million loss in lieu of the government’s receivables due to the illegal factory, run by the Saleem Cigarette Industries registered in Mardan. At that time, Faisal Saleem said that his family’s company stopped manufacturing cigarettes in 2018. He also said that his family’s business is based in Mardan and has nothing to do in Buner. He said that he is striving to bring investment in the province.