LHC seeks details of Toshakhana gifts taken by political leaders, bureaucrats since 1947
The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday directed the federal government to submit details of Toshakhana gifts received by political leaders and bureaucrats from foreign countries since the creation of Pakistan.
Justice Asim Hafeez heard a plea seeking court orders for making public the details of Toshkhana gifts, as well as information about officials who have obtained the assets after making a payment to the state department.
The federal government’s counsel opposed the petition and said that the details are confidential and cannot be made public. At this court remarked that submit the details to the court to decide whether the details are confidential or not.
The LHC has asked for the details and a report of the gifts taken from Toshakhana since the creation of Pakistan.
The court ordered the federal government to provide all the details by January 16, 2023, and adjourned the hearing.
What is Toshakhana?
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.
Government officials must declare all gifts, but are allowed to keep those below a certain value.
More expensive items must go to Toshakhana, but in some cases the recipient can buy them back at around 50 percent of their value — a discount Khan raised from 20 percent while in office.
Pakistan media have for months carried lurid stories alleging Khan and his wife received lavish gifts worth millions during trips abroad. They included luxury watches, jewellery, designer handbags and perfumes.
Khan is accused of failing to declare some gifts or the profit made from selling them.
The complaint to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) was first brought when Khan was still in office by the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), a coalition whose members now make up the government.
At the time Khan said he had not made public some gifts on national security grounds, but in a written submission admitted buying items worth nearly 22 million rupees ($100,000), and later selling them for more than twice that amount.
He says the valuation was done through proper channels.