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As per Lahore High Court orders, the federal government has declassified the record of Toshakhana’s donations dating back to 2002. This is the first time in history that the government has made this list public. , which is undoubtedly a welcome development considering the lack of justification for keeping the record confidential. The Toshakhana records details of who has kept gifts given to government officials, presidents, prime ministers, bureaucrats, and even journalists, as well as who has sent them to the Toshakhana repository after paying the minimum cost which is required by law after an evaluation of the value of the gift. by the Cabinet Division.
The Toshakhana scandal arose several years ago when a journalist decided to investigate the Toshakhana records of former Prime Minister Imran Khan. As a result, Imran Khan finally declared the income he earned by selling the Toshakhana gifts that he had kept but did not declare. The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has expelled Imran Khan for failing to share details of Toshakhana’s donations and the proceeds from their sale while he was prime minister.
In all this, the government and even the media have largely forgotten that the Imran Khan Toshakhana case is rather confusing to most people. The case against Imran is about misdeclaration of assets—in this case, Toshakhana’s donations—which is why Imran was disqualified under Article 63(1)(p) of the constitution read with Sections 137, 167 , and 173 of the Elections Act. , 2017. Another point of contention is the order in which the gifts were sold and whether the payment to the Toshakhana was made before or after the sale of the gifts. The issue has never been a matter of legally getting or selling gifts from the Toshakhana, but rather that Imran announced that they were a senator.
The PTI has embraced Toshakhana’s list of reserved gifts, some of them rather embarrassing, in its usual style, showing once again how well the party can spin an event to its advantage. The government faces very little opposition, which suits the media-savvy PTI perfectly. The truth is, no matter how morally and ethically insane Toshakhana’s record is, keeping the donations legal is permissible.
Remember that the NAB reference is already against Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari for keeping expensive cars from Toshakhana, and that former Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani is accused of helping Asif Ali Zardari and Mian Nawaz Sharif in this regard. The real problem here is the law that governs the Toshakhana. The rules for keeping Toshakhana gifts in Pakistan are quite lax. Some countries allow public auctions of donations at market value, while others send them to official museums.
The only benefit of this saga is that it will make it easier to evaluate Toshakhana’s gifts. The gifts should be appraised according to their market value and then sold to the recipient for the same price, or at least more than the 50% now required. There must be an independent valuation authority so that expensive and valuable gifts, such as the Graff watch given to Imran, can be valued at market value.
A rule should also prohibit the keeping of valuable and rare gifts, which should be displayed instead, as they are in the United States in the National Archives and in Switzerland in the National Museum of Zurich. It is rather sad that our rulers need to be reminded that these gifts are not given to them by states and state officials out of personal friendship; they are gifts given to representatives of Pakistan by other states. As a result, only the state of Pakistan has authority over these gifts and their monetary value.