MBS we are sorry, please apologise
IMRAN Khan and his wife Bushra Farid Maneka retained all the 112 gifts worth Rs.142.02 million from the Toshakhana by paying less than four crore rupees.
Bushra Maneka and Imran retained the precious Khana Ka’ba edition unique watch valued Rs. 2.7 b gifted by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) during his (IK’s) very first visit to KSA on 18 September 2018 by paying only Rs.17 million.
Apart from this, Imran and Bushra retained seven Rolex watches, multiple necklaces, bracelets, rings, multiple diamond chains, gold pens and even dinner sets by paying small amounts of money.
Both Imran and Bushra hid these precious gifts from tax authorities in Pakistan for more than three years until it became scandalous.
They never declared all the items. The watch were sold to Umar Farooq Zahoor in Dubai by Zulfi Bukhari, Shehzad Akbar, Fawad Chaudhry and Farah Gogi worth 28 crore. Farah Gogi met Umar Farooq in Dubai, sold a watch set and received cash from him.
This group of four gave 5.17 crores to Imran Khan who deposited two crore one lakh and 78 thousand only in Toshakhana Account. The rest of the amount was divided amongst the four watch set sellers.
There are three major violations committed by Imran, according to the Toshakhana Reference filed against him.
Firstly, Imran failed to disclose gifts valued over Rs.142.02 million that he had retained in the statement of assets and liabilities.
Secondly, apart from the fact that Imran had taken many gifts home for free, he also retained gifts at prices far less than what he was actually supposed to pay, according to the Toshakhana rules and regulations. And lastly, Imran made payments for retention of some precious gifts after selling them in the open market.
A reference has been filed by a PML-N MNA before the ECP seeking disqualification of Imran as an MNA for false declaration of assets in the statement of assets and liabilities. Every MNA is bound to disclose his/her wealth before the ECP in the statement of assets and liabilities every year.
Imran and his wife Bushra retained hundreds of gifts worth over Rs142.02 million. Imran failed to disclose them in his statement of assets and liabilities before the ECP.
Imran did not mention any of the retained Toshakhana gifts in his returns filed for the financial years 2018-19 and 2019-20.
He rushed to declare one most expensive watch costing over Rs.170 million that he retained in his tax returns for the financial year 2020-21, only when his retention of Toshakhana items became the biggest corruption scandal in the country. In addition, his wife Bushra did not file any return during this period.
In fact, she never filed a return in her entire life and she only got herself registered with the tax authorities in July 2021. Imran paid a total of Rs. 38.17 million against the retained gifts worth Rs.142.0421 million.
He also retained gifts worth Rs. 800,200 for free, thus not paying the legal 50pc retention cost of these precious gifts. Another violation that Imran made was that he took gifts home without depositing them in Toshakhana.
Instead of buying gifted jewels from Toshakhana from his own pocket, Imran first sold them in the open market and then deposited 20pc of each.
Most of the gifts were retained by Imran at 20pc of their value after his government amended the Toshakhana rules and settled the gift retention price at 50pc of its original value.
These gifts were never deposited in Toshakhana. A gift received by any head of the government, head of state or official is to be reported immediately, for record and its value be assessed.
In August 2022, Speaker National Assembly Raja Pervaiz Ashraf sent the Toshakhana scandal-related disqualification of Imran to the ECP in accordance with Articles 62A, 63A, and 223 of the Constitution.
The PML-N leaders have castigated Imran after the recent revelation of details related to the Toshakhana scandal which came as a major setback to Imran’s narrative.
Dubai-based business tycoon Umar Farooq Zahoor has claimed that the gifts given to Imran during his tenure as the Premier by CP MBS were sold to him by close associates of Bushra – Farah Gogi and Shahzad Akbar. The business tycoon Umar has evidence to back his claim.
Responding to the startling revelation, PTI leadership has threatened to take legal action against Umar, for levelling allegations against IK. “Enough is enough.
Geo and Khanzada, supported by handlers, slandered me through a baseless story cooked up by a known fraudster and international wanted criminal”, Imran Khan tweeted the next day.
Was the money transferred to Pakistan? Imran, who termed his political rivals as thieves, has turned out to be the “biggest thief” himself.
Such gifts are always priceless and not for sale. These gifts should remain with the government. None should be allowed to purchase and sell such state gifts.
To retain such gifts the rulers have found a way by paying 20pc of the value of the gifts. Why 20pc? It is disgraceful to the bestowing of dignitaries.
Who sells gifts? Do we evaluate gifts and sell them in our routine life? Never! The gifts bestowed by dignitaries are state owned and not for purchase and sale.
None should be allowed to purchase or sell these gifts. By selling priceless watch set Imran Khan has embarrassed the nation. The nation loves MBS from the core of its heart.
To grace MBS and the unique watch set the state should force Imran Khan to bring back that priceless gift and deposit it in the Toshakhana.
—The writer is editor, book ambassador political analyst and author of several books based in Islamabad.