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Islamabad court grants bail to journalist Shahid Aslam in Bajwa leaks

ISLAMABAD: An Islamabad sessions court on Wednesday granted bail to a private TV channel journalist Shahid Aslam, who was arrested by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) from Lahore last week for his alleged part in leaking personal tax data of former army chief General (retired) Qamar Javed Bajwa.

Shahid Aslam, who has been arrested in connection with the data leak, was presented before the court of Special Judge Muhammad Azam Khan on Wednesday.

During the hearing, the journalist’s lawyer requested the court to accept Aslam’s bail application.

Meanwhile, FIA prosecutor Zulfiqar Naqvi said that the journalist had refused to cooperate with the investigation officers and did not share his mobile or laptop passwords with them.

“We have sent the electronic devices for forensics,” he revealed, adding Aslam was arrested for violating Section 216 [harbouring offender who has escaped from custody or whose apprehension has been ordered] of the Pakistan Penal Code.

After hearing the arguments of both sides, the court accepted Aslam’s plea and approved his bail against surety bonds worth Rs50,000.

Earlier, Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar ordered an inquiry into the “unwarranted leakage of tax information of the family members of outgoing army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa.” Taking serious notice, he said this was clear violation of the confidentiality of tax information that the law provides.

In view of this serious lapse on the part of functionaries, the finance minister directed SAPM on Revenue Tariq Mehmood Pasha to personally lead an immediate investigation into the violation of tax law and breach of FBR data, affix responsibility and submit a report within twenty-four hours.