ISLAMABAD - The ruling coalition on Tuesday tabled a bill in the Senate that seeks to manage and regulate the Toshakhana (state treasury) proposing a fine of five times the assessed value of a gift in case a public office holder fails to deposit the item in the repository within the stipulated time period.
Federal Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Murtaza Javed Abbasi introduced the Toshakhana (Management and Regulation) Bill 2023 before the house that was referred to the standing committee concerned for further scrutiny. Abbasi speaking in the house said that the bill already covered suggestions of Jamaat-e-Islami Senator Mushtaq Ahmed and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator Bahramand Khan Tangi. He said that both had a demand that the proposed law should be brought on the orders of the day as it was facing delay for quite some time. “We have thoroughly examined the proposed law…even then it should be sent to the standing committee for further scrutiny,” he said.
The bill is crucial at a time when ex-prime minister Imran Khan is facing a trial of criminal proceedings for not sharing the details of state gifts, he received while in the office of prime minister, in his statement of annual assets submitted to Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). The Toshakhana has been under the spotlight for the last many decades as some former prime ministers had to face investigations of the law enforcement for receiving gifts from it while violating the rules. The Toshakhana is maintained by the Cabinet Division under the Rules of Business, 1973 and its objective is to manage and regulate gifts received by public office holders during the course of their official duty.