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Monday April 22, 2024

Imran Khan violated his own Toshakhana rules

Imran Khan did not even follow rules and instructions of Toshakhana devised by his own government while retrieving gifts from foreign dignitaries

By Kasim Abbasi
November 20, 2022
Imran Khan photographed on September 14, 2022. Twitter
Imran Khan photographed on September 14, 2022. Twitter

ISLAMABAD: Former Prime Minister Imran Khan did not even follow rules and instructions of Tosha Khana devised by his own government while retrieving gifts from foreign dignitaries.

PTI during its tenure had amended the rules and instructions regarding the receipt and disposal of Tosha Khana gifts received from foreign countries. On 18th December 2018, under the premiership of ex-PM Imran Khan, a memorandum was issued by the Cabinet Division regarding a new procedure for the acceptance and disposal of gifts.

Interestingly, Imran Khan as head of state did not follow rules amended under his government. The rules and instructions clearly stated that every gift must be immediately reported and deposited in Tosha Khana by the recipient irrespective of his/her post or position. However, it has surfaced that Imran Khan while being the prime minister not only kept the gifts to himself without depositing them but also sold them in the open market before depositing their retention costs.

The retention cost of the gifts given by foreign dignitaries was amended to 50 per cent from the previously settled 20 per cent of the assessed value of the gift. But Imran retained the gifts by paying 20 per cent cost only.

On the contrary in multiple press conferences, PTI rulers emphasized how the former prime minister increased the retention cost of Tosha Khana gifts for more transparency.

Further, it was instructed that the Chief of Protocol, Foreign Ministry and Pakistan Embassy in the specific foreign country will be responsible for listing out each gift and its recipient. Nevertheless, Tosha Khana’s record shows that Imran Khan along with his entourage did not declare any gift received from five trips to friendly Arab states out of the 13 trips.

Experts and officials told this scribe that it is impossible that the Pakistan delegation does not receive any gifts during tours to any of these Arab states and especially those led by the premier. In their view, it is a tradition of these countries to give expensive gifts, especially to Pakistan because of their mutual relations.

Furthermore, the rules amended by the ex-government of PTI clearly state that antique items and vehicles shall not be allowed to be purchased by the recipients. It is instructed that antiques shall be placed in museums or displayed in an official building owned by the government. But Imran Khan retrieved almost every gift given to him by foreign dignitaries irrespective of its uniqueness or worth. A MasterGraff Special Design Mecca watch, one of its kind which experts suggest has worth billions of rupees, was not only kept by Khan but also sold in the market for a few million rupees after which he declared it and deposited its retention cost.

The notification issued by the Cabinet Division under PTI’s rule is available with this correspondent which states, “In supersession of this Division’s O.M.No.9/8/2004-TK, dated 13th October 2017 and all other instructions issued on the subject from time to time, the undersigned is directed to state that the Government of Pakistan has made the following procedure for acceptance and disposal of gifts received by Government/Public functionaries.

(1) The responsibility rest with the individual recipient to report receipt of the gift(s) to Cabinet Division. All gifts received by the Government/Public functionaries irrespective of their prices must be reported and deposited immediately in Tosha Khana of the Cabinet Division, Government of Pakistan. If it is found, on checking, that an individual has not reported the receipt of a gift, appropriate action will be taken against him under the relevant rules. (2) If the Chief of Protocol, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, or his representative has been attached to a visiting dignitary or a foreign delegation, it shall be his responsibility to supply the list of the gifts received, together with the names of the recipients, to the Cabinet Division. In the case of other delegations or visiting dignitaries with whom the Chief of Protocol or his representative is not associated, the Ministry sponsoring the visit shall be responsible to supply the details of gifts received and the list of recipients to the Cabinet Division. In the case of outgoing delegations or visits abroad of our dignitaries, it shall be the responsibility of the Ambassador of Pakistan and/or Head of the Pakistan mission in the country concerned to report the receipt of the gifts, together with the name of the recipients, to the Cabinet Division through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.