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Saturday June 15, 2024

Toshakhana controversy deepens

More revelations about sale of Toshakhana gifts for Rs280m in 2019 through Farah Khan, close friend of Imran Khan’s wife Bushra Bibi

By Mumtaz Alvi & News Desk
November 17, 2022
The gifts include Diamond MasterGraff Tourbillon Minute Repeater with Makkah Map Dial GM2751, Diamond Cufflinks with 2.12ct H IF and 2.11ct I IF Round Diamonds GR46899, Diamond Gents Ring 7.20cts, VVSl Rose Gold Pen Set with Pave Diamonds and Enamel Mecca Map. — Exclusive The News
The gifts include Diamond MasterGraff Tourbillon Minute Repeater with Makkah Map Dial GM2751, Diamond Cufflinks with 2.12ct H IF and 2.11ct I IF Round Diamonds GR46899, Diamond Gent's Ring 7.20cts, VVSl Rose Gold Pen Set with Pave Diamonds and Enamel Mecca Map. — Exclusive The News

ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: More revelations about sale of Toshakhana gifts for Rs280 million in 2019 through Farah Khan, a close friend of Imran Khan’s wife Bushra Bibi, and her whitening of almost same amount of money the next month have deepened doubts about financial activities of former premier and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan.

According to Sheikh Umar Farooq Zahoor, Farah Khan had sold the Toshakhana gifts to him in Dubai in April 2019 for about Rs280 million. And the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) official record showed that only after one month, when a tax amnesty scheme was announced by the government in May 2019, she got benefit of Rs330.

Shahzeb Khanzada disclosed more facts in his Geo News show on Wednesday including the tax returns, filed by Farah Khan and her husband Ahsan Gujjar for financial year 2018-19, showing that she got benefit of the 2019 amnesty scheme. Ahsan Gujjar claimed that his wife benefited from amnesty scheme during Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s tenure, and not during Imran Khan’s government. However, earlier, in Geo News programme aired on April 28, 2022, Ahsan Jamil had admitted while talking to Shahzeb Khanzada that they got benefit of amnesty scheme in 2019 during Imran Khan’s government.

Shahzeb Khanzada, in exclusive talk with Umar Zahoor, said the whole set of gifts was sold out for $2 million. At that time, in April 2019, US dollar’s worth in Pak Rupee was 141. Converting $2 million to Pak Rupee at that rate would have fetched Farah Khan Rs280 million. Imran Khan, while purchasing the gifts, had estimated their worth at Rs100 million, and paid its 20pc worth, in about Rs21.5 million. However, Umar Farooq Zahoor told Shahzeb Khanzada he paid $2 million [Rs280 million] to Farah Khan.

PTI senior leaders also held a press conference in Islamabad in support of Imran Khan on Wednesday. Senior Vice-President Chaudhry Fawad Hussain alleged that Umar Zahoor’s three brothers were currently in Norway jails in criminal cases, and he himself was facing money-laundering case against him.

In the wake of the money-laundering case, Umar Zahoor left Norway and started living in Dubai, and his activities in Dubai were also suspicious, he said adding that later Umar Zahoor came to Pakistan and married model Sofia Mirza. He said that Umar Zahoor had refused to give Rs1 million per month to his wife and daughter in Pakistan, while he claimed to have paid $2 million for a wristwatch.

The PTI leader claimed that Shahzad Akbar had a long rivalry with Umar Zahoor. During the PTI government, the interior ministry of Pakistan wanted him to be in Pakistan, but he did not show up despite issuance of summons.

However, he noted that when the PMLN government came to power this year, a case was registered against Shahzad Akbar and the FIA director Rizwan in Kohsar police station, and Umar Zahoor’s name was removed from the ECL, after which he came to a private TV channel and gave an interview within a month.

He said that each case against Nawaz Sharif and Zardari was worth Rs20-25 billion, “but they have a case of Toshakhana against Imran Khan, in which there is an allegation of Rs40-50 million and we are answerable for the allegations against us”.

PTI leader Zulfi Bukhari said “the dealer to whom we sold the watch for Rs57 million, according to our information, this very dealer has sold the watch to Umar Zahoor for Rs61 million. We do not want to reveal the name of the dealer because he is living in Dubai after fleeing the country for fear of detention, we will contact him soon in this regard. After which the facts will come out”.

Zulfi Bukhari said vehicles of Toshakhana were still being used by Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz Sharif, but Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf sent the reference back in that regard.

Another PTI Senior Vice-President Shireen Mazari alleged that Umar Zahoor’s sudden statement of selling the watch in front of the media is related to the Arshad Sharif case. She contended that he should also be investigated with reference to the Arshad Sharif matter in the Supreme Court.

“We all know what powerful forces are behind this conspiracy; Shehbaz Sharif did not get anything against Imran Khan, then a criminal was asked to accuse Imran Khan. We regret that the state will stoop to this level. Pakistan is being made fun of; the state itself is destroying itself,” she charged.

She questioned why the nation had forgotten that Yusuf Raza Gilani’s wife had kept a necklace for herself, which had been donated to the flood victims. “My question is where the gifts go that were received by the military officers. When they did not get anything, they are getting issued statements against Imran Khan by bringing a criminal to the fore,” she added.