LHC refuses to unseal ‘classified’ Toshakhana records

Punjab Assembly elections

The Lahore High Court on Tuesday refused to unseal the record submitted by the federal government, terming it “classified”, in connection with a petition seeking details of officials who had obtained gifts from Toshakhana (gift depository) since 1947.

As proceedings commenced, the federal government’s representative submitted the record arguing it is now the discretion of the court whether it wanted to unseal it.

To this Justice Asim Hafeez remarked that “the court will not open this sealed record until the affidavit of the department’s head is submitted before the court”.

The section officer of the concerned department submitted the record before the court. However, the court fixed February 23 for the next hearing and directed the department’s head to submit an affidavit by the next date.

In previous proceedings, the government showed reluctance in submitting Toshakhana details before the court and argued that the disclosure of such details may damage the interests of Pakistan as well as its international relations.

The court was also updated by the cabinet division through a report that a new policy on Toshakhana was being formulated. It added that the new policy would be more fair and transparent.