The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Fawad Chaudhry on Monday demanded the disclosure of details of the Toshakhana gifts received by military generals and judges, Dawn reported. Chaudhry's statement comes a day after the government revealed details regarding the foreign gifts retained by public office holders from 2002 to 2022.
On Sunday, the details of Toshakhana were updated on the website of the cabinet division. Prominent personalities who benefitted from the gifts included Pakistan President Arif Alvi, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, former PM Imran Khan, ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif, ex-president Asif Ali Zardari, military dictator Pervez Musharraf and others.
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. Gifts/presents and other materials received by people to whom these rules apply shall be reported to the cabinet divisions, according to Toshakhana rules.
In a video statement posted on PTI's official Twitter handle, Pakistan's former Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said that the list of Toshakhana gifts had revealed how the "Sharif and Zardari families looted the Toshakhana," as per the Dawn report.
Chaudhry said, "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." He further said, "But the reality is that if there was anyone who opted for a legal way to retain the Toshakhana gifts, it was Imran Khan."
Fawad Chaudhry said that PTI Chairman Imran Khan had retained the least number of gifts. In the video statement, 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."
PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry said that the list released by the government was "incomplete" as it only included records from 2002. He also requested the Lahore High Court to create an independent judicial commission to determine if the payments of the gifts were made according to the law and whether they were declared. "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," Fawad Chaudhry said as per the Dawn report.
"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," he added.In his video statement, Fawad Chaudhry said, "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 stressed that an independent commission should investigate the matters related to the Toshakhana gifts, as per the news report.
On Sunday, the Pakistan government made the record of Toshakhana gifts since 2002 public, Daily Pakistan reported. The 446-page document contains the record of the period from 2002 to 2023. It reveals the list of gifts received by presidents, prime ministers and federal ministers. During 2023, the current coalition government received 59 gifts from different countries.
According to the records released by the government, 224 gifts were received in 2022, 116 gifts in 2021, 175 gifts in 2018 and 91 gifts in 2014 while government officials received 177 gifts in 2015, as per the Daily Pakistan report. The document includes records of gifts retained by later former president Gen (retd) Parvez Musharraf, former prime ministers Shaukat Aziz, Yusuf Raza Gilani, Raja Parvez Ashraf, Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan. (ANI)