J&K Bank’s chief manager Sajad Ahmad Bazaz sacked over ISI connections

J&K Bank's chief manager Sajad Ahmad Bazaz sacked over ISI connections

On Saturday, August 20, the Jammu and Kashmir Bank sacked its chief manager Sajad Ahmad Bazaz following an investigation by the Jammu and Kashmir Crime Investigation Department (CID) which found that Bazaz was a deep asset of Pakistan’s ISI. It was found that Sajad Ahmad was planted in the J&K Bank to propagate the agenda of the terrorist-separatist networks through articles in a leading regional daily at the behest of the ISI.

“Whereas the undersigned is satisfied under Rule/Provision 12.29 in OSM that in the interest of the security of the state, it is not expedient to hold an enquiry in the case of Sajad Ahmad Bazaz, Chief Manager, Code no. 4484. Accordingly, I hereby dismiss Mr Sajad Ahmad Bazaz, Chief Manager, Code no. 4484 from service, with immediate effect,” the order issued by J&K Bank’s Managing Director reads.

Reportedly, ISI planted Sajad Ahmad Bazaz in the Jammu and Kashmir Bank back in 1990 through the owner and editor of Greater Kashmir Fayaz Kaloo. Bazaz joined J&K Bank in 1990 as a cashier-cum-clerk and was later promoted to head of internal communication in 2004. Reportedly, a special post of editor equivalent to a gazetted officer was created for him.

Illegally working at Greater Kashmir, Bazaz wrote articles spreading Pakistani propaganda

Bazaz even when employed at Jammu and Kashmir Bank, worked illegally as a correspondent-cum-columnist for Greater Kashmir.

Citing J&K CID sources, several media outlets reported that most of Bazaz’s articles supported and glorified the terrorist-secessionist campaign in Jammu and Kashmir. Published in Greater Kashmir’s weekly columns ‘Off The Record’ and ‘What’s Up’, Bazaz’s opinion pieces, some subtle, while others thin-veiled, furthered the Pakistani approach of seeking UN intervention, tripartite talks, and alleged human rights violations.

It has been said that Sajad Bazaz was using different pen names for his articles in the newspaper to conceal his real identity. While Bazaz initially signed as ‘Sajjad Ahmad’ he modified his name by adding another ‘J’ and dropping his surname. Later, the now-sacked J&K Bank chief manager wrote articles under the byline ‘Sajjad Bazaz’.

Mysterious rise of Pakistani deep asset in J&K Bank from a clerk to gazetted officer

During the investigations, it was reportedly found that eligibility prerequisites of the post were tailored to bring Bazaz in as applications were invited from the cadre of cashier-cum-clerks to apply for the newly created post of editor. Moreover, Bazaz was given three promotions despite not having cleared the Certified Associate of Indian Institute of Bankers (CAIIB) exam to date.

Additionally, the requirement for a written test was dropped. Sajad was also given an unfair advantage by having the catchment area limited to the cashier/clerk cadre. The investigators stated that the selection of Bazaz was made despite the fact that “he was rabidly against the Indian state and an open secessionist” by the interview panel, which included the then-chairman of the bank MY Khan, director Haseeb Drabu, chief general manager PZ Lateef, and deputy general manager MA Shah.

Bazaz funded select local newspapers using J&K Bank’s money

The J&K CID said that Bazaz misused his position as an “Editor” for funding specific newspapers and magazines through advertisement money drawn from the coffers of J&K Bank. The investigators found that Greater Kashmir received disproportionately high and favourable advertisement allotments than other news outlets between the years 2015 to 2023. Notably, in the year 2012, there was a sudden surge in pro-Pakistani newspapers and magazines other than Greater Kashmir. This came as Bazaz was instructed by the Pakistani agencies to assist in the setting up of media platforms other than Greater Kashmir to propagate and amplify the Pakistani and Jihadi narrative in an even more vitriolic manner.

It has been found that Sajad Ahmad Bazaz owned and operated around 68 accounts in the J&K Bank. The Pakistani deep state asset was also in touch with terrorist Shabir Hussain Buch, a known aide of Mushtaq Latram, chief of the Al-Umar Islamic terror outfit as well as a close associate of terrorist Masood Azhar, the Jaish e Muhammad chief.

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