ISLAMABAD: In 2019, when everyone from the prime minister to the president to federal ministers were retaining gifts they received during their foreign tours, two lower rank security officials — a constable and a sepoy set an example by depositing the gifts in Toshakhana.
The Toshakhana report released by the Cabinet Division says that in December 2019, Sepoy Atiq ur Rehman — SSG gunman and Constable Malik Qasim Mehmood were gifted wristwatches of Paul Picot Company whose assessed value was Rs120,000 each. Both the security personnel deposited the gifts in Toshakhana. In December 2019, prime minister Imran Khan visited Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.
The report has reflected several interesting incidents. One such example is Punjab former chief minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi who was gifted a tractor, a motorcycle and a buffalo along with a calf. He declared the gifts but did not deposit those or paid the retention price.
A perusal of the report shows most of the government officials who received valuable and expensive gifts have retained them. Whereas, less valuable gifts have either been deposited in Toshakhana or auctioned by the government. More than 90 percent of the gifts reflected in the report were retained by the officials who received them during their foreign visits.
During former military dictator Pervez Musharraf’s regime, 97 percent gifts received by the government officials including Gen (R) Pervez Musharraf, the then prime minister, ministers, military officials who accompanied the then rulers retained the gifts. From 2002 to 2008 a total of 2,249 gifts have been declared with Toshakhana out of which around 70 gifts have been auctioned. Rest of the gifts were retained by the officials.
The report shows that in 2002, a total of 257 gifts were declared with Toshakhana of which around a dozen were auctioned and the remaining gifts were retained by the officials. In 2003, 290 gifts were declared of which around 14 were auctioned and the rest of the gifts were retained.
The report further shows that in 2004, 350 gifts were declared of which only 7 were auctioned; 475 gifts were declared in 2005 of which around 8 were auctioned and the remaining were retained by the government officials. In 2006, 381 gifts were declared of which around 20 were auctioned.
In 2007, a total of 381 gifts were declared of which around 6 were auctioned whereas the remaining gifts were retained by the government officials. In 2008, 115 gifts were declared with Toshakhana of which a very few were auctioned.
The top recipient of these gifts from 2002 to 2008 was former military dictator Gen (R) Pervez Musharraf. Whereas some of the ministers during Musharraf’s regime including Jahangir Khan Tareen, Shaukat Aziz, Umar Ayub etc deposited most of the gifts in Toshakhana.
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