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After Records Expose Politicians, Pakistan Unveils New Toshakhana Policy

© AP Photo / Anjum NaveedA view of the Presidential Palace in Islamabad, Pakistan, Monday, June 20, 2022.
A view of the Presidential Palace in Islamabad, Pakistan, Monday, June 20, 2022. - Sputnik India, 1920, 14.03.2023
Pakistan's Toshakhana, or state gift repository, has been under the spotlight lately following disclosures that top politicians secured the items by paying a token amount.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif's government have issued a new policy regarding gift items received by Pakistani officials from foreign dignitaries.
As per the directive reported on Tuesday, government functionaries would only be allowed to retain gifts that cost no more than PKR 84,600 ($300), marking a major change, considering there was no such cap on retaining gifts earlier.
"Gift(s) valuing up to $300 shall be allowed to be retained by the recipient after due payments as per its assessed market value," the government order said. "The gift(s) exceeding this monetary limit shall straightaway become state/Toshakhana property to be deposited and disposed of according to Toshakhana Procedure."
The new policy was introduced after records from 2002-2023 showed the country's top politicians, including former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, retaining luxurious items from the Toshakhana after paying the minimum amount.

Toshakhana Records

Recent government data showed that apart from Imran Khan, who has been accused of buying 52 items from the state registry for minimal sums, the current premier Sharif, former Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, and even ex-President Asif Ali Zardari bought gifts from the Toshakhana.
During his tenure as president of Pakistan, Zardari retained almost all the 182 presents he received from foreign dignitaries. Also, he purchased a Lexus and a BMW car worth PKR 107 million for PKR 16.17 million from the Toshakhana.
On the other hand, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Khan allegedly kept gifts valued at PKR 100 million after paying PKR 20.1 million.
Regarding the Sharif family, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif reportedly received 65 presents, including ultra-luxurious watches and a bulletproof car.
In January and February 2016, Nawaz Sharif paid PKR 7.6 and 3.2 million to retain gifts that were worth PKR 38 million and 16 million respectively. Besides, his wife, Kulsoom Nawaz, purchased gifts worth PKR 54 million for PKR 10.8 million.