Friday October 22, 2021

Raising questions

September 25, 2021

This refers to the news report ‘Govt refuses to divulge details of gifts to PM’ (September 21). The assertion by the special assistant to the prime minster, Shahbaz Gill, that the disclosure of gifts would be prejudicial to state interest could perhaps hold true if all state gifts received by the prime minister were invariably deposited in the Toshakhana and remained state property, which is not the case here. It has also been stated that during the PTI government, 50 percent of the value of the gift was deposited in the treasury whenever the prime minster chose to own the gift personally as against 15 percent, in the past. However, juggling with figures, like vastly undervaluing the gift, 50 percent of the ‘declared’ value could work out to a lower figure than 15 percent of the real value. Also, the non-disclosure of foreign gifts could raise questions whether all state gifts have actually been accounted for. With the PTI’s ongoing case regarding foreign funding, as revealed by a former founding member, this stance of the PTI government has opened yet another debatable chapter.

S R H Hashmi