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Bajwa data leak: Islamabad court grants bail to journalist Shahid Aslam

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Bajwa data leak: Islamabad court grants bail to journalist Shahid Aslam

An Islamabad sessions court on Wednesday granted bail to Bol News 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.

In November, a report published by investigative news website FactFocus — which describes itself as a “Pakistan-based digital media news organisation working on data-based investigative news stories — accused the army chief and his family of amassing assets worth Rs12.7 billion over the past six years.

The report cited tax records and wealth statements of the Bajwa family to corroborate its claims about the alleged accumulation of assets by the family inside and outside Pakistan.

Taking notice of the report, the finance minister had said that the leak was “clearly violative of the complete confidentiality of tax information that the law provides”.

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

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.

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The case

The case pertains to the report published by FactFocus last year, accusing the former army chief and his family of amassing assets worth Rs12.7bn over the past six years.

The report, authored by journalist Ahmad Noorani, cited tax records and wealth statements of Gen Bajwa and his family to corroborate the claims about the alleged accumulation of assets inside and outside Pakistan.

Aslam has been accused of obtaining the tax records and sharing them with Noorani. The FIA arrested Aslam from Lahore on Jan 13 and later shifted him to Islamabad.

On Jan 14, he was handed over into FIA’s custody for two days. After the completion of the remand, the journalist was sent to jail on judicial remand for five days.

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4.3 magnitude earthquake jolts parts of Punjab

4.3 magnitude earthquake jolts parts of Punjab

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4.3 magnitude earthquake jolts parts of Punjab

An earthquake measuring 4.3 on the Richter scale struck various parts of Punjab including Lahore on Monday 

People came out of their homes in panic and started reciting verses from the Holy Quran. No loss of life and property was reported in any part of Punjab. 

According to the National Seismic Monitoring Centre, Islamabad, the epicentre of the earthquake was located five kilometres south of Sheikhupura at the depth of 45 kilometres.

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Pakistan Army shoots down Indian quadcopter on LoC

Pakistan Army shoots down Indian quadcopter on LoC

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Pakistan Army shoots down Indian quadcopter on LoC

Pakistan Army has shot down a spy quadcopter of Indian Army on the Line of Control (LoC).

According to a statement issued by the Public Relations Department of the Pakistan Army (ISPR), on Monday, an Indian Air Force quadcopter spying on Pakistan was shot down.

The ISPR said that the army has found the downed quadcopter inside Pakistani territory.

It may be recalled that it is the fifth anniversary of Operation Swift Retort today. On February 27, 2019, the Pakistan Air Force shot down Indian fighter planes that violated Pakistani airspace. 

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PTI founder, Bushra Bibi indicted in 190m pound case

PTI founder, Bushra Bibi indicted in 190m pound case

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PTI founder, Bushra Bibi indicted in 190m pound case

 An accountability court indicted the PTI founder and his wife Bushra Bibi in the ill-famous 190 million pound case – also previously known as Al-Qadir Trust case – as the judge, Nasir Javed Rana, held hearing at the Adiala jail.

All the cases involving the former PTI chairman are being heard at the jail premises – where he is imprisoned – because of the security threats, for which Bushra Bibi was shifted from her Bani Gala residence where she is serving her sentences in two cases – Toshakhana and illegal/un-Islamic marriage.

Meanwhile, her husband has so far been convicted in three cases – cipher, Toshakhana and illegal/un-Islamic marriage.

During the proceedings, the two accused pleaded not guilty, as the judge adjourned proceedings till March 6 while also summoning five witnesses to record their statements on next hearing.

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However, the accountability court accepted two pleas filed by the PTI founder, requesting permission for an appointment with his dentist and general physician.

Previously, the indictment had been postponed on several occasions due to the absence of Mohammad Bashir – the accountability court judge who is set to retire on March 14 and has applied for leave preparatory to retirement (LPR).

However, the law ministry last week appointed District and Sessions Judge Rana as an Accountability Court No 1 Islamabad judge to replace Bashir who went on leave on deputation for a period of three years. 

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