LHC orders release of Toshakhana record from 1990-2001

Punjab Assembly elections

The Lahore High Court on Wednesday ordered the government to make public the record of Toshakhana gifts received by public office holders from foreign governments and dignitaries between 1990 and 2001 as well.

The high court’s directives came days after the government, under a previous order of the court, had made public the details of foreign gifts retained by public office holders — presidents, prime ministers, federal cabinet members, politicians, bureaucrats, retired generals, judges and journalists from 2002 to 2022.

Justice Asim Hafeez issued the orders while presiding a hearing on a petition filed by Munir Ahmad through Advocate Azhar Siddique seeking the government to make public the complete details of Toshakhana gifts received by political rulers and bureaucrats from foreign dignitaries since the creation of Pakistan.

In the previous hearing, a day after the release of Toshakhana records from 2002 onwards, the high court had directed the law officer representing the government to “submit in chamber” the remaining record before 2002, including the names of those who gave those gifts.

During the hearing, the judge said that any gifts received by the country from friendly nations should also be made public, adding that nothing should be hidden. Additional Attorney General Mirza Nassar, representing the government, objected to the directive concerning the disclosure of sources of gifts. Despite the objection, the court insisted that all details should be disclosed to the public.

“We intend to file an appeal against the direction,” Nassar informed the court. Justice Hafeez assured the additional attorney general of their right to appeal.