PTI demands disclosure of foreign gifts received by generals and judges

LAHORE: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) has demanded that details of Toshakhana gifts received by military generals and judges be made public, a day after the government on the order of the Lahore High Court (LHC) revealed the details of foreign gifts retained by public office holders between 2002 and 2022.

The matter centres on a government department known as Toshakhana — which during the Mughal era referred to the treasure houses kept by the subcontinent’s princely rulers to store and display gifts lavished on them.

Government officials must declare all gifts to the Cabinet Division, but are allowed to keep those below a certain value.

More expensive items must go to Toshakhana under the administrative control of the Cabinet Division, but in some cases, the recipient can buy them back at around 50 percent of their value — a discount Imran Khan raised from 20 percent while in office.

The ruling coalition of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) parties has for months alleged Khan and his wife, Bushra Maneka, received lavish gifts worth millions during trips abroad. They included luxury watches, jewellery, designer handbags and perfumes.

The details of Toshakhana were updated on the website of the Cabinet Division on Sunday, revealing members of the government who had benefited from the gifts — including Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, his brother Nawaz Sharif, former president Asif Zardari, and military dictator Pervez Musharraf, among others.

In a video statement Monday, Fawad Chaudhry, senior vice president of the party, claimed the list of Toshakhana gifts had exposed how the “Sharif and Zardari families looted the Toshakhana”.

He accused them of “blatantly misusing the law” and retaining gifts worth millions, while his party chairman, Imran Khan, had retained the least number of gifts.

Chaudhry also requested the LHC to form an independent judicial commission to determine whether the payments of the gifts were made as per the law and whether they were declared.

The former information minister further said the list released by the government was “incomplete” as it only included records from 2002, and demanded that a list of gifts retained since 1988 should be released, along with the gifts of generals and judges.

“I believe that the idea of sacred doctrine should come to an end in Pakistan and with politicians, the gifts of judges and generals should also be disclosed,” Chaudhry added.

Chaudhry also raised questions over whether politicians had shown the value of their gifts in their tax records, and whether the Federal Bureau of Revenue had records of the gifts. He called for an independent commission to probe the matter.


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