ISLAMABAD - The government on Sunday released the much-awaited records of Toshakhana gifts received by public office holders from foreign governments and dignitaries since 2002.
A 446-page record of Toshakhana gifts from 2002 to March 2023 had been released, which included details of the Toshakhana gifts of the presidents, prime ministers, and federal ministers. During the ongoing year, the incumbent government received 59 gifts.
According to the records released by the government, 224 gifts were received in Toshakhana in 2022, 116 gifts in 2021, 175 gifts in 2018, and 91 gifts in 2014, while 177 gifts were received by government officials in 2015. The following are some of the more salient findings regarding the gifts retained from the Toshakhana by political leaders over the years: Asif Ali Zardari, former president and PPP co-chairperson, in January 2009 retained a BMW car (Rs57.8m) and Toyota Lexus (Rs50m) after paying a total of Rs16.1m for them and another BMW car (Rs27.3m) after paying Rs4m. In June 2011, he retained a Corum wristwatch (Rs1.25m) after paying a total of Rs189,219 for it and some other items. Another Cartier wristwatch (Rs1m) followed in October 2011 with a payment of Rs321,000 for it and a gun.
Nawaz Sharif, the three-time former prime minister and PML-N supremo, retained a Mercedes Benz (Rs4.2m) in April 2008 after paying Rs636,888 for it. In November 2013, he retained a Rolex wristwatch (Rs1.18m) after paying a total of Rs243,000 for it and some other items. He also kept a Piaget wristwatch (Rs1m) in January 2015 after paying Rs240,000 for it and a box of perfumes. In January 2016, he retained a Christopher Claret watch (Rs2m), a ring (Rs19.5m) and a pair of cufflinks (Rs16m) after paying a total of Rs7.6m for them and some other items.
Meanwhile, his wife Kulsoom Nawaz retained a bracelet (Rs12.7m) and a necklace and earring (Rs41.6m) after paying Rs10.8m for them. In February 2016, Nawaz retained a Dela Cour watch (Rs3.2m), a ring (Rs8m) and a pair of cufflinks (Rs5m) after paying Rs3.2m for them.
In October 2016, he retained a Rolex watch (Rs1.2m) and another Rolex watch (Rs850,000) after paying Rs469,000 for them and some other items.
In May 2017, he retained a Rolex wristwatch (Rs4m) after paying Rs808,000 for it.
Imran Khan, former prime minister and PTI Chairman, retained a Rolex watch in October 2018, assessed at Rs1.5 million, after paying Rs294,000 for it. In October 2019, he retained a boxed watch, assessed at Rs1.9m, after paying Rs935,000 for it.
In September 2020, Imran retained yet another Rolex watch, assessed at Rs4.4m, after paying Rs2.4m for it and a number of other gifts. In the same month, his wife Bushra Bibi also kept a necklace (Rs10m), a bracelet (Rs2.4m), a ring (Rs2.8m) and a pair of earrings (Rs1.85m) after paying Rs9m for them.
It must be mentioned here that former prime minister and National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf also retained a Graff wristwatch assessed at Rs890,000 in November 2012 after paying a total of Rs218,000 for it and other items.
The Toshakhana department, which was established in 1978, and all the public officeholders, including parliamentarians and bureaucrats, are bound to report the gifts to the Cabinet Division. The department came under the spotlight when proceedings were initiated against former prime minister Imran Khan for “not sharing details” of Toshakhana gifts retained by him. Last year, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had also disqualified the PTI chief as member of the National Assembly in the Toshakhana case for not disclosing the gifts.
Earlier this year, the federal government had told the Lahore High Court (LHC) that public disclosure of Toshakhana details could cause unnecessary media hype and could be potentially damaging for Pakistan’s foreign relations. However, the LHC remarked that it would hold off an order to make details of the Toshakhana gifts public until it would be satisfied that these gifts were kept secret.
President Dr Arif Alvi’s wife, Samina Alvi, retained a necklace (Rs1.19m) in October 2019 after paying Rs865,000 for it and other items in a jewellery box.
The president himself retained a Rolex wristwatch (Rs2.5m) in February 2022 after paying Rs1.2m for it.
Ex-premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi retained a Hublot wristwatch (Rs15m), a pair of cufflinks (Rs1.2m), a pen (Rs1.5m), a ring (Rs3m) and prayer beads (Rs1.85m) in October 2017 after paying Rs4.5m for them. His wife Sameena Shahid also retained a jewellery set (Rs99m) after paying Rs19.99m for it.
In November 2017, Abbasi retained a Rolex watch boxset (Rs23m) after paying Rs4.59m for it. In April 2018, he retained a Rolex wristwatch (Rs25m) after paying a total of Rs5.27m for it and other items.
Former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gillani’s wife, Fauzia Gillani, retained a jewellery set (Rs2m) after paying Rs326,043 for it in December 2009