Pakistan’s Cabinet Division has released details of foreign gifts that were retained by public office holders, including presidents, prime ministers, politicians, bureaucrats, retired generals, judges, and journalists from 2002 to 2022. The Toshakhana gifts, as they are known, were reportedly retained by most of the office holders free of cost, except for new ones.
Prominent leaders who received gifts from Toshakhana include Pakistani President Arif Alvi, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, former prime minister Imran Khan, ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif, ex-president Asif Ali Zardari, late military dictator Pervez Musharraf, former premier Shaukat Aziz, ex-PM Yousuf Raza Gilani, ex-PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, ex-PM Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, ex-PM Zafarullah Khan Jamali, Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, and others.
Imran Khan, the current chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), and his wife received five precious wristwatches, ornaments, and other items. In October 2018, he retained five precious wristwatches, including a Graff watch worth PKR 3.8 million, after paying PKR 0.754 million.
In September 2018, he retained a Graff wristwatch worth PKR 85 million, a pair of cufflinks worth PKR 5.6 million, a pen worth PKR 1.5 million, and a ring worth PKR 8.75 million after paying PKR 20 million for these items.
Pervez Musharraf and Shaukat Aziz retained hundreds of foreign gifts without paying a penny. Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz Sharif received one bulletproof vehicle each during their visits and retained them after paying some money to the Toshakhana. In return for the gifts received from foreign dignitaries, these public officeholders gave away gifts worth millions of rupees to the foreign delegates.
According to the documents, Asif Ali Zardari retained a BMW 760 Li white (security version) in 2009, which was worth PKR 27.3 million, after paying over PKR 4 million.
In March 2011, he retained a wristwatch worth PKR 1 million after making a payment of PKR 158,250 for the watch and some other items. Meanwhile, Nawaz Sharif received a Mercedes Benz car in 2008, which was worth PKR 4.25 million, and retained it after paying PKR 0.636 million.
Pakistan President Arif Alvi’s wife, Samina Alvi, retained a necklace worth PKR 1.19 million in October 2019 after paying PKR 865,000 for it and other items in the jewelry box. Alvi also retained a Rolex wristwatch worth PKR 2.5 million in February 2022 after paying PKR 1.2 million.
The release of this information sheds light on the perks enjoyed by public officeholders in Pakistan and the value of gifts that are exchanged during official visits. It also highlights the need for transparency and accountability in public office.
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