Govt declassifies Toshakhana records

ISLAMABAD: The federal government declassified on Sunday the records since 2002 for the first time in the country’s history.

A 446-page record of Toshakhana gifts from 2002 to March 2023 had been released, which included details of the Toshakhana gifts of the presidents, prime ministers, and federal ministers. During the ongoing year, the incumbent government received 59 gifts.

According to the records released by the government, 224 gifts were received in Toshakhana in 2022, 116 gifts in 2021, 175 gifts in 2018, and 91 gifts in 2014, while 177 gifts were received by government officials in 2015.

On Thursday, the federal cabinet had decided to make the details and records of Toshakhana, a state repository that stores gifts received by public officeholders from other governments and foreign dignitaries, public, said Defence Minister Khawaja Asif.

Mr Asif took to Twitter, stating: “The cabinet has allowed declassification of Toshakhana record. It would soon be posted on the website of the cabinet division”.

The Toshakhana department, which was established in 1978, and all the public officeholders, including parliamentarians and bureaucrats, are bound to report the gifts to the Cabinet Division. The department came under the spotlight when proceedings were initiated against former prime minister Imran Khan for “not sharing details” of Toshakhana gifts retained by him.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has also disqualified the PTI chief as member of the National Assembly in the Toshakhana case for not disclosing the gifts last year. A districts and sessions court in the federal capital is also hearing a criminal case against him for concealing details of the gifts he retained while serving as the prime minister.

Earlier this year, the federal government had told the Lahore High Court (LHC) that public disclosure of Toshakhana details could cause unnecessary media hype and could be potentially damaging for Pakistan’s foreign relations. However, the LHC remarked that it would hold off an order to make details of the Toshakhana gifts public until it would be satisfied that these gifts were kept secret.

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