LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Tuesday warned the Toshakhana chief of contempt proceedings if he failed to submit his affidavit and a comprehensive report, till February 21, of those who had obtained gifts from the Toshakhana since 1947.
A single member bench comprising Justice Asim Hafeez heard the plea, seeking direction from the authorities concerned to provide details of dignitaries, bureaucrats, and officials who had obtained gifts from Toshakhana since 1947.
The judge warned Toshakhana officials that contempt proceedings would be initiated if the affidavit of the relevant official was not submitted before the court by February 21.
During court proceedings, Justice Hafeez questioned where were the Toshakhana department chief and his affidavit. Another officer, representing the Toshakhana, parried the court’s query which irked the judge who then asked why contempt proceedings could not be initiated against the concerned officer.
The section officer told the court that they are pondering whether to make details of the Toshakhana gifts public.
The court has nothing to do with it, Justice Hafeez remarked, adding that the LHC had sought details of Toshakhana gifts along with the affidavit.
The petitioner’s counsel, advocate Azhar Siddique, argued that this was mala fide on part of the Toshakhana whose officers seemed reluctant in complying with the court orders.
Justice Hafeez expressing his displeasure gave one last opportunity to the head of the department for submitting details and the affidavit by the next date.
It is pertinent to mention here, one Munir Ahmed has filed the petition through Senior Advocate Azhar Siddique.
Advocate Siddique implored in the petition that the Islamabad High Court on April 20, 2022, directed the cabinet to disclose all information and specifications in relation to all the gifts received by the former prime minister, Imran Khan, during his tenure.
Following this order, the petitioner sought information about all the gifts bought/withdrawn/taken away by the prime ministers and presidents of Pakistan from 1947 till date.
Additionally, the petitioner also legitimately sought information with respect to the market value of the gift (prevalent at that time), the assessed value of the gift and the amount paid by the receivers (presidents and prime ministers) of the gifts from 1947 till date.