- The Bill proposes to impose a fine of five times the market value of the Toshakhana gift.
- PML-N minister Murtaza Javed Abbasi introduced the bill in the Senate.
- Leaders of almost all parties boarded the Toshakhana ‘Gravy Train’.
In a bid to curb corrupt practices, the federal government on Tuesday introduced the Toshakhana (Management and Regulation) Bill, 2023 in the Senate, which proposes to impose a fine of five times the market value of gifts for violation of rules.
The bill was introduced by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Murtaza Javed Abbasi of the ruling PML-N. The Bill suggests a fine of five times the value of the Toshakhana gift in case of failure to deposit the article in the repository within the time period given in the rules.
If the Senate passes the bill, it would apply to the president, prime minister and members of the armed forces. It will also apply to governors, Senate chairperson and deputy chairperson, National Assembly speaker and deputy speaker, federal and provincial ministers, state ministers, chief ministers, political secretaries, aides to the PM, advisors, attorney general and law officers. The same would not be expected of the spouses and children of public office holders.
It is pertinent to mention here that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), in a unanimous decision in the Toshakana context, disqualified former Prime Minister Imran Khan and ruled that the PTI chairman is no longer a member of the National Assembly.
The ECP said that Imran Khan submitted a false affidavit and was found involved in corrupt practice under Article 63(1)(p).
It is pertinent to mention here that apart from the PTI chief, leaders of other parties also boarded the Toshakhana ‘gravy train’.
In March, 2023, the federal government made public the records of state officials who had received Toshakhana gifts since 2002, in compliance with the orders of the Lahore High Court (LHC).
According to the details, Khan kept a watch (graph number AU750) in 18-carat gold and diamonds worth Rs 85 million, a pair of cufflinks (over Rs 5.6 million), a pen (Rs 1.5 million) and a ring (Rs 8.7 million) by depositing only Rs 20.17 million in Toshakhana.
Former President Asif Ali Zardari also retained various items, including a BMW 760 Li (Security Edition, model number 2008) – estimated value of Rs 57,828,705 – and a Toyota Lexus LX 470 (Security Edition) – Rs 50,000,000, depositing around Rs 16.1 million.
He also got another BMW 760 Li White (Safety Edition) (Model No. 2004) by depositing Rs 4.09 million – worth Rs 27,339,370.
In 2013, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif kept a Rolex watch Oyster Perpetual N Series 0835D018 (over Rs 1.18 million), a pair of cufflinks with a pen (Rs 0.025 million) and four commemorative coins of the Central Bank of Kuwait (Rs 0.015 million) by depositing Rs 0.243 million in the Toshakhana.
In 2016, Nawaz Sharif’s wife Kulsoom Nawaz deposited Rs 10.8 million to keep a bracelet, a necklace and earrings (Rs 41.6 million) worth Rs 12.7 million.
In addition, former Prime Ministers Raja Pervez Ashraf, Yousuf Raza Gilani; former Finance Minister Sartaj Aziz; former President Pervez Musharraf; The list includes the names of outgoing Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and others.