Pakistan News: Lahore High Court asked the government to give details of Toshakhana gifts received by politicians and bureaucrats

The Lahore High Court has directed politicians and bureaucrats to submit details of Toshakhana gifts received by them since the creation of Pakistan in 1947 by January 16. The court gave this direction while hearing a petition.

Pakistan News: The Lahore High Court on Monday directed the federal government to submit details of Toshakhana gifts received from foreign dignitaries to politicians and bureaucrats since the creation of Pakistan in 1947 by January 16. Is.

The Toshakhana department of the Government of Pakistan became prominent after a controversy over former Prime Minister Imran Khan allegedly selling state depository gifts worth around Rs 108 million for Rs 21.5 million. 

The directive came after Justice Asim Hafeez of the Lahore High Court sought court orders to make public the details of Toshakhana (state depository) gifts as well as the persons/officials who received the property after making payments. Considered a petition. 

What is Toshakhana?

Established in 1974, Toshakhana is a department under the administrative control of the Cabinet Division and stores precious gifts given to rulers, parliamentarians, bureaucrats and officials by other governments and heads of state and foreign dignitaries.

In accordance with the Toshakhana Rules, gifts and other such material received by persons to whom these rules apply shall be reported to the Cabinet Division. 

Instructions to submit details related to Toshakhana in court

During Monday’s hearing, government lawyer Sheraz Zaka argued that details related to Toshakhana were confidential and could not be made public.

The court then asked how the details could not be disclosed. “Submit the details in the court,” the judge directed, seeking a report from the federal government by January 16. The court will decide whether they are classified or not. 

Pervez Khattak, a top leader of Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, tweeted after the hearing that the High Court had sought full records of the Toshakhana gifts and said: ‘What is there to hide? Why a different standard for yourself?’

The plea seeking details filed by advocate Muneer Ahmed last week suggested that the right to information is an integral part of a progressive democratic state and has been elaborated by senior courts by calling it the right to information in all matters of public.

The importance is unquestionably a fundamental right guaranteed under Articles 19 and 19-A of the Constitution. 

According to the petitioner, the people at large have a right to know the details of every public transaction and information on all matters of public importance. The petition urged the court to order the defendants to make public the details of properties gifted to rulers and bureaucrats and also to provide the names, documents and materials of the persons/officials who received the properties by making payments. 

The petitioner has also sought details of the methodology used to determine the price of Toshakhana items. The ministries of parliamentary affairs and interior and the Pakistan Information Commission have been named as respondents in the petition.

Criminal proceedings initiated against Khan

Criminal proceedings were initiated against Khan, 70, last month for his disqualification for ‘not sharing details’ of Toshakhana Gifts and income from his alleged sale and for making ‘false statements and mis-declarations’. 

The cricketer-turned-politician Khan bought an expensive Graff wristwatch from the Saudi royals from Toshakhana, which he had received during a visit in 2018, along with several other gifts and sold them in Dubai for a profit. He was later disqualified from the National Assembly by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for not disclosing the sale proceeds in his annual wealth statement provided to the commission.

Khan was ousted from power in April

Khan was ousted from power in April after losing a vote of no confidence in his leadership, which he alleged was part of a US-led conspiracy targeting him because of his independent foreign policy decisions on Russia, China and Afghanistan. 

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