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Watches, iPhone, table mats — Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif says Imran Khan kept & sold state gifts

Shehbaz Sharif said Khan retained and sold valuable gifts that he received from foreign dignitaries worth PKR 140 million in Dubai when he was PM.

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New Delhi: Pakistan’s new Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has accused his predecessor Imran Khan of retaining and selling valuable gifts worth PKR 140 million, part of the country’s ‘Toshakhana’ (treasure house), in Dubai, thus inflicting a loss to the national exchequer.

Sharif made these accusations Friday at the Prime Minister’s House during an interaction with journalists. According to Pakistani law, any gift received from dignitaries of a foreign state has to be put in the country’s Toshakhana. In case a state official wants to keep the gifts, they have to pay a retainer — earlier it was 20 per cent of the price, but Khan’s government revised it to 50 per cent in 2018.

According to The News International, Imran Khan kept all the 58 gifts he received over 3.5 years and that too at a fraction of the price. Khan allegedly paid Pakistani PKR 38 million for gifts valued at PKR 140 million. He didn’t pay for another PKR 800,200 worth of gifts. Among the things Khan retained was a Graff watch worth PKR 85 million gifted by Saudi crown prince Muhammad Bin Salman, Rolex watches, cufflinks, iPhone, pens, dinner sets, a Samsonite bag and even table mats.

Shehbaz also said that Khan sold a wristwatch gifted by Saudi Arabia in Dubai. Khan’s former interior minister Fawad Chaudhry clapped back by saying that selling one’s own assets (purchased from the Toshakhana) was not a crime.

Also read: Ousted PM Imran Khan back on streets, warns he’ll be ‘even more dangerous’

More than a watch

The Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government had apparently been very guarded about the details of gifts received by Khan and what all was deposited with the Toshakhana. There is even a petition pending for over seven months before the Islamabad High Court seeking details of the gifts.

Speaking to Pakistani news outlet Dawn, Chaudhry said, “We have the details of the gifts obtained (by Imran Khan) from the Toshakhana and we will provide them to the high court whenever it asks us to.”

Other leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), including Marriyum Aurangzeb and Ahsan Iqbal, have said that Khan sold more than just wristwatches and diamond jewellery — he’s been accused of selling a gold Kalashnikov (gun) and a jeep.

Pakistani journalist Omar R. Quraishi reported that gifts worth PKR 100.92 million were given to Imran Khan who deposited them in the Toshakhana in 2018. Then PKR 20.27 million was paid by Khan to retain them, just before his government hiked the retainer price.

Earlier, details of the Toshakhana had to be submitted to a House Committee. However, in 2013, Nawaz Sharif stopped that process, terming them ‘state secrets’. Many Imran Khan supporters are now asking for the details of the gifts received by Nawaz Sharif in light of the allegations against Khan.

Pakistani news organisation FactFocus said, “Imran Khan hid these precious gifts from tax authorities in Pakistan. After hiding this precious watch gifted to Pakistan for three years, Imran rushed to declare this item in his tax returns for the financial year 2020-21 only when his retention of Tosha Khana items became the biggest scandal corruption scandal in the country.”

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