ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Sheh­baz Sharif on Wednesday said the cabinet members, politicians and bureaucrats will not be allowed to retain gifts worth more than $300 (around Rs80,000), as he promised to make the entire record of Toshakhana available to public.

“No one would be allowed to retain state gifts worth more than $300,” the prime minister said in a press conference at Prime Minister House after the cabinet meeting. “Record of Toshakhana will be brought before the public, as the official website [of the cabinet division] will provide details about foreign gifts and will be accessible to all,” he added.

According to the premier, judges and the armed forces do not provide details of gifts, which they receive on official tours, to the state gift repository. Only the president, prime minister, parliamentarians, cabinet members and bureaucrats follow the practice, he added.

Responding to a question about recent audio leak of a sitting judge of the Supreme Court, the PM said the audio has proved partiality of some judges against his party — Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). “We respect the judiciary but if any partiality is being committed, we cannot keep our eyes shut. We demand that our cases should not be referred to the judges whose behaviour is prejudiced against us,” the PM said.

He said the judiciary had regularised Imran Khan’s Banigala house while it ignored the demolition of poor’s houses by the former prime minister. In a question regarding general elections scheduled to be held in October, the PM said holding of elections was a constitutional requirement.

About elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the prime minister said the caretaker governments of the two provinces have not presented their stance on polls as of yet. “It is not in my domain,” he added.

Published in Dawn, February 23rd, 2023

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