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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

LHC orders govt to release Toshakhana records from 1990 to 2001

Justice Asim Hafeez issued the orders today, asserting that nothing could be kept from public view. The judge also said that any gifts received by the country from friendly nations should also be made public.

The Lahore High Court (LHC) has ordered the government to make the complete records of Toshakhana from 1990 to 2001 public despite the government’s opposition.

According to the details, Justice Asim Hafeez issued the orders today, asserting that nothing could be kept from public view. The judge also said that any gifts received by the country from friendly nations should also be made public.

Justice Asim Hafeez emphasized that no one could retain any gift without making the necessary payment. Furthermore, he stated that complete transparency should be maintained, and nothing should be hidden.

Read more: Toshakhana case: IHC stops police from arresting Imran Khan

Meanwhile, Additional Attorney General Mirza Nassar, representing the government, objected to sharing the source of a gift and said it would challenge the verdict. To this, Justice Asim Hafeez said it is your right to file a challenge.

Release of Toshakhana records

Earlier, the records of Toshakhana gifts from 2002 onwards were made public for the first time in Pakistan’s history. The 446-page list contains, former prime ministers, presidents, ministers, bureaucrats, and even children of these officeholders. The Toshakhana records created a storm in Pakistan as they exposed many public figures for wrongfully taking gifts or paying less amounts. Demands were then made for the release of Toshakhana records from 1990 to 2001.

To clarify, the Tosha­khana is a department under the administrative control of the Cabinet Division and stores precious gifts given to rulers, parliamentarians, bureaucrats, and officials by heads of other governments and states and foreign dignitaries.

According to Toshakhana rules, gifts/presents and other such materials received by persons to whom these rules apply shall be reported to the Cabinet Division.

Following the release of Toshakhana records from 2002, the government introduced a new policy. The policy notified on March 8, 2023, abolishes the previous rules which allowed the government functionaries to retain any gift by paying 50% of the price assessed.

Now any gift exceeding US$ 300 shall straightaway become Toshakhana property while gifts valued up to US$ 300 can be retained by the recipient without any discount on the payment of assessed market value.