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In a historic first, Pakistan releases Toshakhana gifts records

Toshakhana gifts have long been a controversial topic in Pakistani politics. In a historic first on Sunday, the Pakistan government made public the records of Toshakhana or Pakistan’s treasury, where gifts received by state officials are deposited. 

Many senior state officials have allegedly taken home expensive presents that they receive from foreign dignitaries by paying a little amount and later selling them in the open market for a big premium, and keeping the profit.

A few days ago, Pakistan’s Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said that the federal government had agreed not to declassify the information from the state repository. 

The document’s 446 pages provide records for the years 2002 through 2023. The list of presents that presidents, prime ministers, and federal ministers have received is made public. The current coalition government got 59 presents from various nations during the year 2023.

Government records show that 224 gifts were received in 2022, 116 in 2021, 175 in 2018, 91 in 2014, and 177 in 2015. 

The document contains records of presents kept by former prime ministers Shaukat Aziz, Nawaz Sharif, Yusuf Raza Gilani, Imran Khan and Raja Parvez Ashraf, as well as late former president General Parvez Musharraf.

According to the records, Imran Khan spent Rs 85 million on a diamond and gold watch, Rs 5.67 million on a pair of cufflinks, Rs 1.5 million on a pen, and Rs 8.7 million on a ring. The previous premier paid almost Rs 20 million to keep all the presents. In addition, the PTI leader paid Rs. 754,000 to keep a watch worth Rs 3.88 million.

In recent days, Toshakhana gifts have caught the imagination of a normal Pakistani as the country’s former prime minister Imran Khan, who still has a lot of clout among the general public, evaded arrest in the case related to these gifts. 

Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), in its verdict in the Toshakhana case against former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, had disqualified him from the country’s National Assembly. The electoral body gave its verdict saying Imran made “false statements and incorrect declaration” regarding the Toshakhana gifts.

A criminal case that was submitted by the Election Commission of Pakistan is being heard at the federal capital’s Districts and Sessions Court. 

Source : WION