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Friday September 29, 2023

Ruling coalition leading lights who kept gifts of Toshakhana

Nawaz Sharif along with Asif Ali Zardari and Imran khan took almost every gift given to them

By Kasim Abbasi & News Desk
March 14, 2023
Ruling coalition leading lights who kept gifts of Toshakhana

ISLAMABAD: Shahid Khaqan Abbasi- while being prime minister for less than a year - made a fortune by keeping Toshakhana gifts which valued over Rs233 million.

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi made a whooping profit of almost Rs187 million by retaining gifts having value of Rs233 million in just Rs46.5 million.

The record further shows that other members of the current cabinet including Ishaq Dar, Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Ahsan Iqbal, Syed Naveed Qamar, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao have also retained expensive gifts by paying minimal or no costs at all.

Nevertheless, leaders of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf like Asad Umar, Murad Saeed, Omer Ayub Khan, Shafqat Mehmood, Abdul Razzaq Dawood and AML chief Sheikh Rashid were also among those a few exceptions who did not retain one gift given to them despite expensive and luxury gift item. Asad Umer received a luxury watch set which was assessed for millions of rupees that he deposited in Toshakhana. Murad Saeed also received several gifts but did not keep even one of them and deposited all in Toshakhana.

Interestingly, Shehbaz Sharif received more than 100 gifts in times when he was Punjab chief minister in 2009 and 2013 until now when he is the prime minister of Pakistan. Interestingly, in all this time, Shehbaz Sharif did not take one expensive gift from Toshakhana and instead auctioned them or deposited them in Toshakhana for sale. There are a few gifts that he took which were of minimal value and less than Rs50,000.

The record reflects that Shahid Khaqan Abbasi (prime minister in 2017) kept over 50 gifts for himself, his spouse and three sons in less than a year which had a value of over Rs233 million in total. The expensive gifts were retained paying 20 or even less percent of their assessed value while gifts which were in thousands were mostly taken for free. Abbasi, when he became prime minister in 2017, got more than six special edition watch sets which had value close to Rs90 million. Apart from these, the spouse of the then prime minister kept a Rs100 million valued jewellery set consisting of one necklace, a pair of ear tops, a bracelet, and a ring. Similarly, his sons kept luxury watch sets of Hublot, Harry Winston and Rolex having value of millions of rupees. Mobile phones were also taken by his sons. These gifts were retained by the then prime minister by paying 20 percent of their assessed value. It is important to mention here that only two of these gifts were given to Shahid Abbasi while he was Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources from 2013 to 2017.

Khawaja Muhammad Asif retained 15 gifts having worth of more than Rs58 million during his services as Minister for Water and Power in 2013 to 2017 and foreign minister in 2018. The gifts contained two special edition jewel class watch sets. One set had a Bvlgari watch having value of over Rs4 million, Rs3.2 million pen, Rs1.2 million value of cufflinks and a ring each and a Tasbeeh of Rs1.5 million. Likewise, another same limited edition designed watch set of Feberge TOF14 which was valued at over Rs44 million was retained by Khawaja Asif. These gifts were retained by Khawaja Asif at 20 percent of their actual prices.

Ishaq Dar also took gifts that were valued at almost Rs9 million. The record shows that he retained gifts from Toshakhana when he served as finance minister from 2013 to 2018. He was also given one jewel class watch set of Christophe Claret along with cufflinks, a pen, a ring and a Tasbeeh. In total, Ishaq Dar retained 16 gifts as reflected in the latest Toshakhana documents and paid 20 percent of their assessed value.

Ahsan Iqbal, while he was interior minister in 2018, retained 3 gifts for himself and his spouse which were valued at Rs2.5 million and retained at 20 percent of their cost.

Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao who is currently senior vice president of PDM received three luxury watch gifts which were all kept by him back in 2007 when he was interior minister and water and resources minister in 2003. In total, Sherpao kept five gifts in which three were Bvlgary special edition wristwatches.

Syed Naveed Qamar is minister for commerce, received one gift under the current government of Shehbaz Sharif. However, the details of the gifts are still under progress and no other information is shared in the documents. Naveed Qamar also kept one gift that he received in 2012 while he was minister for water and resources. Likewise, Defence Production minister, Muhammad Israr Tareen also kept one gift recently by paying 40 percent retention cost. Raja Pervaiz Ashraf was also gifted the same jewel watch set containing watch, cufflinks, ring, pen and a tasbeeh which he kept with himself in 2010 when he was water and power minister.

Moreover, Nawaz Sharif along with Asif Ali Zardari and Imran khan took almost every gift given to them. Nawaz Sharif, the three-time prime minister and PMLN chief retained several expensive items over the years. In April 2008, he kept a Mercedes Benz worth Rs4.2 million after paying Rs636,888 for it. In November 2013, he retained a Rolex wristwatch valued at Rs1.18 million after paying a total of Rs243,000 for it and some other items.

In January 2015, he kept a Piaget wristwatch worth Rs1 million after paying Rs240,000 for it and a box of perfumes. In January 2016, he retained a Christopher Claret watch (Rs2 million), a ring (Rs19.5 million), and a pair of cufflinks (Rs16 million) after paying a total of Rs7.6 million for them and some other items.

In February 2016, he kept a Dela Cour watch (Rs3.2 million), a ring (Rs8 million), and a pair of cufflinks (Rs5 million) after paying Rs3.2 million for them.

In October 2016, he retained two Rolex watches, one worth Rs1.2 million and the other Rs850,000, after paying Rs469,000 for them and some other items. In March 2017, his son Hussain Nawaz retained a Rolex watch worth Rs940,000 after paying Rs186,000 for it.

In May 2017, Nawaz retained a Rolex wristwatch worth Rs4 million after paying Rs808,000 for it. Additionally, in January 2016, Nawaz’s wife Kulsoom Nawaz retained a bracelet worth Rs12.7 million and a necklace and earring valued at Rs41.6 million after paying Rs10.8 million for them. In March 2017, Nawaz retained a diamond necklace worth Rs1 million after paying Rs207,560 for it and a table watch.

In September 2018, Imran Khan, former prime minister and Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), retained several items from the Toshakhana including a Graff wristwatch (Rs85 million), a pair of cufflinks (Rs5.6 million), a pen (Rs1.5 million), and a ring (Rs8.75 million) by paying Rs20 million for them.

In the following month of October 2018, he retained a Rolex watch, valued at Rs3.8 million, by paying Rs754,000 for it. He then retained another Rolex watch (Rs1.5m) in the same month by paying Rs294,000 for it. In November 2018, Imran retained another Rolex wristwatch (Rs900,000) by paying a total of Rs338,600 for it along with other items. In October 2019, he retained a boxed watch, assessed at Rs1.9m, by paying Rs935,000 for it.

In September 2020, Imran retained another Rolex watch, assessed at Rs4.4 million, along with other gifts by paying Rs2.4 million for them. In the same month, his wife Bushra Bibi retained a necklace (Rs10m), bracelet (Rs2.4m), ring (Rs2.8m), and a pair of earrings (Rs1.85 million) by paying Rs9 million for them.

In January 2009, former president and Co-Chairperson of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Asif Ali Zardari, retained a BMW car (Rs57.8 million) and a Toyota Lexus (Rs50 million) after paying a total of Rs16.1 million for them. Additionally, he retained another BMW car (Rs27.3 million) after paying Rs4 million.

In March 2011, Zardari retained a wristwatch (Rs1 million) after paying Rs158,250 for it and other items. Later, in June 2011, he retained a Corum wristwatch (Rs1.25 million) after paying Rs189,219 for it and other items. In October 2011, Zardari retained another Cartier wristwatch (Rs1 million) after paying Rs321,000 for it and a gun.

There were no details about gifts given to Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Khawaja Saad Rafique.

The details about delegations which were gone after 2022 along with the PM and received gifts are not available in the record and are under process with no additional information.

Meanwhile, PMLN leader Muhammad Zubair sent party supremo Nawaz Sharif’s version on Toshakhana controversy to Geo News programme Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Saath. The programme host stated that, according to the PMLN version, Nawaz Sharif’s position is quite clear on the issue and the gifts were retained after making the required payment to Toshakhana.

Speaking in the programme, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi explained the legal requirement for retaining a gift. He said he paid more tax on the gifts retained from Toshakhana than the price he paid. He said the government can probe if any illegality is suspected in retaining the gifts.

He said Imran Khan sold out the gifted watch first and then paid Toshakhana, which is wrong, adding most gifts were not deposited in Toshakhana in PTI chief’s tenure.

Commenting on a taunting tweet by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s son, Salman Shehbaz, Abbasi said he didn’t mind that. He said he is with the party, not any individual (Salman Shehbaz).