ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Thursday said he could confirm that his predecessor, PTI Chairman Imran Khan, took gifts from the Toshakhana and sold those abroad.
“Imran Khan sold these gifts for Rs140 million in Dubai,” the PM was reported as telling journalists during an Iftar he hosted a day earlier in the federal capital.
The premier was said to have shared that the expensive gifts that former prime minister Imran Khan traded for money included diamond jewellery sets, bracelets and wristwatches.
PM Shehbaz said that he also received a watch once, but deposited it to the Toshakhana, adding that he “does not need to hide anything”.
The premier’s revelation came in response to a question regarding a petition seeking the details of the Toshakhana items that had been filed in the Islamabad High Court on which the-then PM Imran Khan had commented that the details could not be revealed as per the Official Secrets Act, 1923.
Answering journalist’s query, the PM explained that under the rules, the gifts received from another state or country are deposited in Toshakhana, saying the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) determines gift’s value. In case of auction, the SBP and the Federal Board of Revenue revalue the gift, the PM added.
Opposition alliance, Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) President Maulana Fazlur Rehman said there were reports that Imran Khan sold a precious watch he had received from a prince. “This is shameful,” he said.
PMLN Vice President Maryam Nawaz tweeted in Urdu: “Imran Khan has sold the gifts he received from other countries.“Caliph Hazrat Umar (companion of Prophet Muhammad PBUH) was held accountable for his shirt and robe and you (Imran Khan), on the other hand, looted foreign gifts from Toshakhana and you are talking of setting up a state of Madina? How can a person (Khan) be this insensitive, deaf, dumb and blind?” asked the daughter of deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
She also asked from where Imran Khan got money to purchase precious gifts from Toshakhana as, according to official record, he [Imran] had no other sources of income except for his salary as an MNA.
Former federal minister and PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry, however, refuted PM Shehbaz Sharif’s statement, saying that the new premier is “throwing dirt on Imran Khan”, and in turn he himself is earning bad name. Fawad claimed that Khan bought a watch — he received from a foreign country — from the government of Pakistan and sold it.
“What is the offence if the [then] prime minister sold the watch he had bought from the government?” Fawad asked.
“It doesn’t matter if the watch is worth Rs50 million or 100 million [...] if it is mine and I sold it, there shouldn’t be any objection.” He said he was unable to understand what exactly PM Shehbaz’s allegation is.
“Shehbaz Sharif is confused and he can’t decide how to level allegations against Imran Khan,” Fawad said and advised PM Shehbaz to avoid superficial gossip and focus on national issues.