- Information minister says former premier earned Rs142 million in four years after retaining 58 gifts
Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb said on Thursday that the Toshakhana gifts may be retained, but cannot be sold for "financial benefits," refuting the former premier Imran Khan's claim that gifts belonged to him and it was his choice whether to keep them or not.
“With regards to Toshakhana, Imran Khan has said ‘my gift, my choice’. Let me make it clear that the gifts belong to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, who can retain them but has no right to sell them in the markets,” she said while talking to reporters in Islamabad.
Toshakhana is a department that keeps precious gifts received by the rulers, parliamentarians, and others from heads of foreign government and dignitaries as a goodwill gesture.
Marriyum claimed that when Imran Khan was in power, he retained the Toshakhana gifts at 20 percent of their price, but sold them at four times higher in the markets.
"He retained a total of 58 gifts, including cufflinks, a ring, and others, worth Rs 142 million. It also included the famous wristwatch, which alone was sold for Rs 180 million," she said.
She said Imran Khan’s income increased manifold after selling the Toshakhana gifts.
"The assets raised through these gifts’ sales were much more precious than his entire life income," she claimed.
The increase in income, she said, contradicts Imran Khan’s narrative on the Toshakhana. "His deceit, hypocrisy, and lies got fully exposed in the public," she said.
She accused Imran Khan of misusing his authority for monetary benefits, saying that during the first two months of his government, he made Rs85 million through the Toshakhana gifts, and total of Rs 142 million in four years after retaining another 58.
The minister asked the PTI chairman to put the money trail of Toshakhana's gifts before the nation, adding that we need answers about his [Imran's] corruption.
She said Imran Khan’s wife had filed her last tax return in 2018, using her old name, demanding that the PTI chairman should give an explanation in that regard too.
Talking about the issue of political parties' foreign funding, she said the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had formed a committee on the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) funding, but PTI failed to raise a single objection during its proceedings.
Talking about social media trends criticising the state institutions, Marriyum said action is being taken against those who were involved in the malicious campaign against state institutions through "robotic tweets."
To a query, she said Imran Khan should better tell the public about the blunders his regime committed in governance, which caused poverty, unemployment, inflation, and increased debt.
"It was the nation who would decide to whom it would support – either to those who were distributing certificates of sedition or those who were working for the country’s progress and development," she added.
The law would take its course where the authority was misused, she said while responding to a query regarding the government's action against the former premier.
The minister disclosed that Imran Khan’s travel expenses from Bani Gala to the Prime Minister's Office stood at millions of rupees.