Pakistan reporter accused of leaking tax data gets bail

ISLAMABAD (AP) — A Pakistani court Wednesday granted bail to a veteran journalist after he was arrested by federal investigators in the eastern city of Lahore, his news channel said. He was suspected of leaking tax details of the country’s former army chief and his family.

The court order for the release of Shahid Aslam came less than a week after the Federal Investigation Agency raided his apartment in Lahore and transported him to the capital Islamabad.

The BOL news channel, for which Aslam works, reported Wednesday that a court in Islamabad approved bail for Aslam and that he was expected to be freed Thursday after the completion of paperwork.

The development comes a day after the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists asked Pakistan to release Aslam and allow the media to freely and independently report on military officials.

In a statement, CPJ said Tuesday that Pakistani authorities accused Aslam of involvement in a Nov. 19 article in the Pakistan-based digital news website FactFocus. The article used leaked tax data to report on the assets of Bajwa and his family. Aslam has denied involvement.

Pakistan has a bad track record regarding freedom of expression and several journalists have been assaulted and detained by police in recent years, although the current and previous governments have insisted they support freedom of expression.

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