LHC seeks explanation for delay in Toshakhana record release

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LHC ECP reserved seats

Court orders concerned authorities to provide details by January 19

The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday directed the concerned quarters to provide an explanation for the delay in releasing the details of Toshakhana gifts obtained since 1947 by January 19.

Justice Asim Hafeez heard a plea seeking direction to authorities concerned to provide all details of the gift repository including those of dignitaries, bureaucrats, and other officials.

During the proceedings, Section Officer Nida Rehman appeared before the court contending that a committee has been constituted to examine which details could be provided.

However, Justice Hafeez inquired why the details are being hidden when everything has been made public. Explanations are due if details of Toshakhana cannot be provided, he further remarked.

Previously, the law officer representing the federal government had implored the court that the details of the gifts of Toshakhana are secret details that could not be provided.

Justice Hafeez had, however, observed that when a person buys a gift from Toshakhana they had to mention them in tax returns. So how could it be kept a secret when details are mentioned in the tax returns.

The judge had directed the federal government’s lawyer to submit details before the court by January 16 and said the court will decide whether or not the details are secret.

Meanwhile, the petitioner’s counsel advocate Azhar Siddique had implored the court that there are no details available to provide about those who obtained the gifts from the Toshakhana, under which mechanism the prices of gifts were determined and how much money was deposited in the national exchequer. He also requested the court to direct the concerned quarters to make all details of the gifts public.

The petition was filed by Munir Ahmed through senior advocate Azhar Siddique.