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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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Court sends Sheikh Rashid on 14-day judicial remand

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Court sends Sheikh Rashid on 14-day judicial remand

A local court in Islamabad on Saturday sent Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rashid Ahmed to Adiala Jail on judicial remand for 14 days in a case related to leveling allegations against former president Asif Ali Zardari.

The AML supremo was produced before the court of Judicial Magistrate Umar Shabbir amid strict security by the capital police where the police requested the court for another five-day physical remand of the AML chief along with a photogrammetric test.

During the hearing, the investigation officer informed the court about photogrammetry and voice-matching tests.

Meanwhile, the former interior minister said “It would be better I be sentenced to death the way police have kept me.They blindfolded and tied me to a chair for hours.”

Shiekh Rashid asked to the court to order the authorities to take him to a hospital to bandage his injuries and grant him Rangers’ security. At this, the court ordered to uncuff Rashid.

While the AML chief’s lawyer contended that the sections imposed in the case against Mr Rashid weren’t valid.

Later, the local court reserved its verdict on the police’s plea for an extension in Rashid’s physical remand. It also gave the transcript of Rashid’s interview to his lawyer.

The AML chief was arrested by the Islamabad police in the early hours of Thursday from his home in a private housing society in the capital city. A case was registered against Sheikh Rashid on a complaint lodged by the vice president of PPP’s Rawalpindi chapter at the Aabpara police station. In a talk show, the complainant said, the AML chief accused the PPP co-chairman of having hatched a plan to use terrorists to assassinate PTI Chairman Imran Khan.

Earlier, the PTI chief had alleged that Mr Zardari had hatched a plot to have him killed, adding that a militant group had been hired for this purpose.

Sheikh Rashid Ahmed has been booked, according to the FIR, under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 153A (promoting enmity between different groups, etc), and 505 (statements related to public mischief) of the Pakistan Penal Code. His arrest comes after he defied a police notice to appear before the investigation team in the case by 4pm on Wednesday last. However, the AML chief has challenged the notice in the Islamabad High Court.

More Cases Registered Against Sheikh Rashid

Following his arrest, two more cases were registered against the senior politician in Karachi and Islamabad. A case was registered against incarcerated Mr Ahmed in Karachi for using immoral language towards Foreign Minister and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari. The case has been registered at the Mochko police station under sections 506, 504, 500 and 153 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) on a complaint filed by a PPP worker, Khuda Bux. The complainant alleged that the former interior minister while talking to media outside the Poly Clinic Hospital, Islamabad, used abusive language against Bilawal Bhutto.

Mr Bux said the former interior minister attempted to create chaos and anarchy by using objectional language against the PPP chairman. He demanded the police to take an action against Mr Ahmed as per the law.

Meanwhile, a case has been registered against Sheikh Rashid at the Murree police station under sections 353, 186, 506/2 for interference in official affairs when security officials reached his residence earlier this week to arrest him.
 

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Imran Khan announces ‘Jail Bharo Movement’

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Imran Khan announces 'Jail Bharo Movement'

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan has announced the “Jail Bharo Movement.”

Addressing the nation on Saturday, he said that the members of the PTI and its supporters were being targeted in revenge activities. “We are not afraid of arrests,” he said.

Imran Khan, while hitting out at the government over the economic crisis, said that those who came to power through conspiracy have ruined the country. “The imported government has no roadmap for the country’s progress,” he added.

The PTI chairman said that Finance Minister Ishaq Dar first threatened the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and now he has bowed down before the international lender.

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Qureshi asks PM to make up his mind about invitation

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Qureshi asks PM to make up his mind about invitation

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) vice chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi says his party is ready for reconciliation as well as confrontation and now the government should tell what it wants. 

Addressing a press conference, the former foreign minister said Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had summoned the All Parties Conference (APC) and also invited the PTI to attend it but, on the other hand, cases were being filed against the PTI leaders and political opponents were being put behind the bars.

The PTI leader said the premier should first make up his mind whether he wanted to invite the PTI or take political revenge as both things could not go hand in hand.

The former minister said the country was fighting terrorism for the last 20 years and Nawaz Sharif was the one who first started talks with the banned TTP in 2013 and an operation was launched when the talks failed. During PTI’s tenure, there was a substantial reduction in the incidents of terrorism as “we tried to stop the bloodshed”, he added.

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Mr Qureshi said the PTI government was sent packing through a conspiracy and an ‘imported’ government was imposed on the country.

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