Govt unveils new policy after Toshakhana records expose top politicians
ISLAMABAD: The federal government banned presidents, prime ministers, cabinet members, judges, civil and military officers from buying gifts worth more than $300 under new Toshakhana policy, ARY News reported on Tuesday.
The new Toshakhana Procedure for the Acceptance and Disposal of Gifts, 2023 includes a fresh set of guidelines for ministries and divisions to adhere to.
Under the new policy, the government has announced a ban on gifts such as vehicles, watches, and jewelry worth millions of rupees for high-ranking officials including the president, prime minister, cabinet members, judges, civil and military officers.
“Gift(s) valuing upto USD 300 shall be allowed to be retained by the recipient after due payments as per its assessed market value,” the memo said. “The gift(s) exceeding this monetory (sic) limit shall straightaway become State/Toshakhana property to be deposited and disposed of according to Toshakhana Procedure.”
Grade 1 to grade 4 employees will be able to receive cash as gifts from foreign dignitaries, it added.
READ: IMRAN KHAN DEPOSITED 50 STATE GIFTS IN TOSHAKHANA: RECORD
The new Toshakhana policy has also prohibited government functionaries from receiving gifts for their spouses or for members of their families.
The federal government Sunday declassified the Toshakhana records and uploaded the 466-page data from 2002 to 2023 on the Cabinet Division s website.
Those who acquired gifts from Toshakhana include former presidents, prime ministers, ministers and government officers.
The names that appeared in the publicised Toshakhan records included Pervez Musharraf, Shaukat Aziz, Yousaf Raza Gillani, Nawaz Sharif, Imran Khan, Arif Alvi and Shehbaz Sharif.
Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif acquired Mercedes Benz in 2008. The market price of the luxury car was Rs4,25,5000 which was purchased at the price of only Rs636,000 from Toshakhana
Moreover, he purchased a glass set at the price of Rs43,000 and Rs6,000 paid for a carpet. He paid Rs240,000 for cufflink and a watch worth Rs1,200,000. He acquired a vase worth Rs8,000 without paying any amount.
Asif Ali Zardari
Former president Asif Ali Zardari paid Rs79,005 for the Jovani watch and horse model worth Rs540,000.
He also received gifts of BMW worth Rs5,078,000 and a Toyota Lexus worth Rs5,000,000. The former president paid Rs16,100,000 for purchasing both vehicles.
He acquired a painting worth Rs10,000 without paying any amount.
He purchased BMW luxury car at the price of 4,100,000 in 2009 whose actual market value was Rs27,300,000.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari received vase worth Rs6,500 without paying any amount to the exchequer.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif did not pay for dozens of items of Toshakhana, including a cow model (R8,000), decanter (Rs25,000), wall hanging (Rs17,000), bowl, dagger (Rs50,000), booklet (Rs10,000), stadium model (Rs15,000), onyx plate (Rs2,200), horse metal sculpture (Rs28,000), chocolate and honey (Rs12,000), jar (Rs10,000), Uzbek products including books (Rs33,000) and painting (Rs28,000).
PM Shehbaz Sharif paid Rs185,000 for golden vase whose actual price was Rs400,000.
The then chief minister (CM) Shehbaz Sharif purchase a decoration piece at Rs5,000 whose actual price was Rs35,000 in 2013.
Sharif kept ceramic bowl (Rs20,000) and a painting with a frame (Rs12,000) without paying a single penny to the exchequer. Other items included vase (Rs22,000), Orange Train model (Rs10,000), souvenir (Rs8,000), honey (Rs1,000), herbal tea (Rs3,000), jam (Rs6,000), three footballs (Rs15,000), decanter (Rs22,000), Arabian coffee container (Rs26,000), Arabian coffee (Rs26,000), bowl set (Rs10,000), carpet (Rs30,000).
Imran Khan had a long list of gifts. He retained a Rolex watch valued at Rs 8.5 crore, pair of cufflinks, a pen and one ring by paying only Rs two crore. Whereas originally the cufflinks were valued at Rs 56,70,000, pen Rs 15,00,000 and ring was priced at 87,50,000, according to the record.
He also retained a wooden oud box and two perfumes free of cost. The value of these items was Rs 500,000. He also kept for himself a Rolex watch priced Rs 1.5 million by paying only Rs 294,000.
While he paid only Rs 338,600 for some other gifts including another Rolex watch valued at Rs 900,000, ladies watch valued at Rs 400,000, I Phone valued at Rs 210,000, two gents suits priced Rs 30,000, four perfumes valued at Rs 35,000, Rs 30,000, Rs 26,000 and Rs 40,000 respectively, a purse valued Rs 6,000, a ladies purse valued at 18,000 and one ball pen priced at Rs 28,000.
What is Toshakhana
Established in 1974, the Toshakhana is a department under the administrative control of the Cabinet Division and stores precious gifts given to rulers, parliamentarians, bureaucrats, and officials by heads of other governments and states and foreign dignitaries.
As per the country s law, any gift received from dignitaries of a foreign state must be put in the state depository or the Toshakhana.
The Toshakhana controversy caught media attention after former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan was accused of hiding details of the gifts he received during his tenure in the government.
Last year in June, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had constituted a ministerial committee to redesign the Toshakhana policy.