A day after the government made public the details of foreign gifts retained by public office holders from 2002 to 2022, the PTI demanded on Monday that details of the Toshakhana gifts received by military generals and judges should also be disclosed.
Established in 1974, the Toshakhana is a department under the administrative control of the Cabinet Division and stores precious gifts given to rulers, parliamentarians, bureaucrats, and officials by heads of other governments and states and foreign dignitaries.
According to Toshakhana rules, gifts/presents and other such materials received by persons to whom these rules apply shall be reported to the Cabinet Division.
On Sunday, the details of Toshakhana were updated on the website of the Cabinet Division. Prominent personalities who benefited from the gifts included President Dr Arif Alvi, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, former premier Imran Khan, ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif, ex-president Asif Ali Zardari, later military dictator Pervez Musharraf and others.
As per the documents, most of the gifts were retained by the office holders free of cost except for a few ones. In return for the gifts received from foreign dignitaries, these public office holders, especially the rulers, gave away gifts worth millions of rupees to the foreign delegates.
In a video statement shared on PTI’s Twitter today, former information minister Fawad Chaudhry said that the list of Toshkhana gifts had revealed how the “Sharif and Zardari families looted the Toshakhana”.
“This list is another evidence of the way these families betrayed the people of Pakistan. In the last 15 months, these people levelled a string of accusations against Imran Khan and Bushra Bibi related to Toshakhana.
“But the reality is that if there was anyone who opted for a legal way to retain the Toshakhana gifts, it was Imran Khan,” the PTI leader said, adding that his party chairman had retained the least number of gifts.
He claimed that the Zardari and Sharif families “blatantly misused the law” and retained gifts worth millions. “They didn’t even leave a box of pineapples.”
Chaudhry further said that the list released by the government was “incomplete” as it only included records from 2002.
“A list of gifts retained since before 1988 should be released and along with that, the gifts of generals and judges should be included in the list.
“I believe that the idea of sacred doctrine should come to an end in Pakistan and with politicians, the gifts of judges and general should also be disclosed,” Chaudhry demanded.
The PTI leader also requested the Lahore High Court — on whose orders the Toshakhana record was made public — to form an independent judicial commission to determine if the payments of the gifts were made as per the law and whether they were declared.
“Khawaja Asif has retained watches worth millions of rupees … has he shown these watches in his tax records? Does the FBR (Federal Bureau of Revenue) have the record of all these [gifts]?” he asked.
Chaudhry also stated that an independent commission should probe the matters of the Toshakhana gifts.
Many exposed as Toshakhana details surface
The details revealed that Asif Ali Zardari retained one BMW 760 Li white (security version) on Jan 26, 2009. The value of the car was fixed at Rs27.3 million while the former president retained it after paying a little more than Rs4m.
In March 2011, he retained a wristwatch worth Rs1m after paying Rs158,250 for the watch and some other items.
In June 2011, he retained a wristwatch worth Rs1.25m after paying a sum of Rs189,219 for the watch and some other items. In Oct 2011, the PPP leader retained a Cartier wristwatch worth Rs1m after making a payment of Rs321,000 for the watch and a gun.
Meanwhile, PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif was gifted a Mercedes Benz car on April 20, 2008, which was worth Rs4.25m. The former PM retained it after paying Rs0.636m, as per the document. The document did not mention in what capacity Sharif received the vehicle.
On the other hand, Imran Khan received five precious wristwatches, including a Graff watch, worth Rs3.8 million. He retained these gifts in Oct 2018 after paying a sum of Rs0.754m.
In September 2018, he retained a Graff wristwatch worth Rs85m, a pair of cufflinks worth Rs5.6m, a pen worth Rs1.5m, and a ring worth Rs8.75m after paying Rs20m for these items.
Another Rolex watch worth Rs1.5m soon followed and the former prime minister retained it after paying Rs294,000 for the precious item.
In November 2018, Imran Khan retained another Rolex wristwatch worth Rs900,000 after paying a sum of Rs338,600 for the watch and some other items.
In October 2019, he retained a boxed watch, assessed at Rs1.9m, after paying a sum of Rs935,000. In September 2020, Imran Khan retained another Rolex watch, assessed at Rs4.4m, after paying Rs2.4m for the watch and a number of other gifts.
In the same month, his wife Bushra Bibi kept a necklace worth Rs10m, a bracelet worth Rs2.4m, a ring worth Rs2.8m, and a pair of earrings worth Rs1.85m after paying a sum of Rs9m for these gifts.
Dear visitor, the comments section is undergoing an overhaul and will return soon.