ISLAMABAD: A court in Islamabad granted the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) a two-day physical remand of Shahid Aslam, a journalist associated with Bol News, on Saturday, a day after he was arrested for his suspected involvement in the leak of confidential tax documents of former army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa’s family.
The investigation stems from a November report by investigative news website FactFocus, which accused Bajwa and his family of accumulating assets worth Rs12.7 billion during his six-year term in office.
The report cites tax records and wealth statements to support its claims of the alleged accumulation of assets by the family both inside and outside of Pakistan.
شاہد اسلم کمپیوٹر کا پاسورڈ نہیں دے رہے، ایف آئی اے کی شکایات
بول نیوز کے صحافی شاہد اسلم کا جسمانی ریمانڈ منظور #BOLNews #ShahidAslam pic.twitter.com/aEy7aIdEg3
— BOL Network (@BOLNETWORK) January 14, 2023
Subsequently, instead of questioning or denying the validity of the information, the office of Ishaq Dar said the finance minister had taken “serious notice” of the leak, calling it a violation of the tax law and a breach of official confidential data.
Days later, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), under then-Gen. Bajwa, rejected the report, claiming it was “totally untrue and based on blatant lies and malice”.
During the proceedings on Saturday, Aslam’s counsel argued the journalist’s detention was illegal and that there was no proof that Aslam had received or passed on the leaked information.
No one ask journalist abt source information, how @ShahidAslam87 is defending his basic right SALUTE to him. According to my information #shahidaslam has nothing give and take with the Bajwa story pic.twitter.com/RZHQKZchAb
— Mohammad Zubair Khan (@HazaraZubair) January 14, 2023
The prosecutor countered that the evidence was on Aslam’s mobile phone and laptop, which he was not providing to investigators, and that Aslam played the “role of the facilitator” in the crime. If found guilty, Aslam could face a 10-year jail sentence.
After hearing the arguments, the judicial magistrate approved the two-day physical remand of the journalist.