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From Diamonds to Rolexes: What Is Pakistan’s Toshakhana Case Against Imran Khan?

Imran Khan confirmed his arrest and stated that he is being moved to the Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore.

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(This article was first published on 15 March 2023. It has been reposted from The Quint's archives in light of Imran Khan's arrest in the Toshakhana corruption case by an Islamabad court on 5 August 2023.)

Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan was arrested on Saturday, 5 March in connection with the Toshakhana case after a District and Sessions court held him guilty of corruption.

Earlier, on 10 May, the Islamabad ​​police went to arrest Khan at his Lahore residence in connection with the same case but were met with his supporters, who gathered outside his house and clashed with authorities, causing several injuries.

The former Pakistan cricket team captain faces 37 cases across Pakistan, including some filed by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). 

As the police takes Khan — the chief of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf — to Lahore's Kot Lakphat Jail, we explain what the Toshakhana case is all about and tell you about the 37 alleged cases he is involved in. 

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What is Toshakhana?

The Toshakhana is a department under the control of Pakistan’s Cabinet Division, which is responsible for storing gifts and other expensive items given to public officials and under its rules, officials must report these gifts to the Cabinet Division. 

While PMs or presidents can retain gifts that cost less than PKR 30,000 for themselves, more expensive gifts must be kept in the Toshakhana under Pakistani law. 

But wait, there’s a loophole. 

If the public official wants to retain a gift, they can pay a fraction of the gift’s value, as determined by the Toshakhana evaluation committee.

While the percentage was around 20 percent of the monetary value of a gift, Imran Khan's government raised it to 50 percent after he entered office in 2018.

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  1. What Exactly Did the Ousted PM Imran Khan Take From the Toshakhana?

    • Imran Khan paid PKR 20 million to retain a Graff wristwatch worth PKR 85 million. 

    • A pair of cufflinks worth PKR 5.6 million

    • A ring worth PKR 8.75 million.

    • A pen worth PKR 1.5 million

    • Rolex watch worth PKR 1.5 million, retained by Khan for PKR 294,000. 

    • In November 2018, Khan retained a Rolex worth PKR 900,000 and paid a  combined PKR 338,600 for the watch and some other gifts. 

    • In October 2019, he retained a boxed watch for PKR 1.9 million for PKR 935,000

    • In September 2020, Khan’s wife Bushra Bibi paid a combined PKR 9 million and retained a necklace worth PKR 10 million, a ring worth PKR 2.8 million, a bracelet worth PKR 2.4 million and a pair of earrings worth PKR 1.85 million. 

    • In the same month, Khan retained a Rolex assessed at PKR 4.4 million for PKR 2.4 million.

    • He also retained gifts like Dolce & Gabbana and Bvlgari LE Gemme perfumes, a model of a mosque, a bottle of attar (ittar) and an iPhone. 

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The Toshakhana Case 

Dawn reported that a journalist inquired about the gifts the then prime minister received under the Right to Information law, a request that was denied by Imran Khan’s government. 

However, ever since he entered office, Khan thoroughly resisted disclosing details of the numerous gifts he received over his tenure, claiming that it would severely impact Pakistan’s geo-political relations, despite the Pakistan Information Council (PIC) ordering that it be done. 

Even though a complaint was filed with the Federal Information Commission, which ruled against the Cabinet Division’s move, the government refused to provide the details. Subsequently, the journalist filed a case in Islamabad High Court, which ordered the government to provide the details. 

Unfortunately for Khan, before he was able to provide (or not provide) details of the gifts he received, he was ousted from office in April 2022 after he lost a no-confidence vote, which Khan alleged was part of a “US-led conspiracy” owed to his foreign policy decisions on Afghanistan, Russia, and China.

Trouble kicked off for Khan after the Toshakhana case was filed back in August 2022 after the coalition government led by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) filed a case against PTI chief Khan seeking his lifetime disqualification for not disclosing information on gifts presented to the Toshakhana or the proceeds from the “illegal” sale of some of the items.

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Subsequently, the once cricket superstar wrote to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and admitted to selling at least four presents that he claimed to have bought from the government at a percentage of their value, including a Graff watch from the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Rolex watches, pricey cufflinks, a pen and a ring. 

Almost two months after the case was filed against Khan, the ECP found that while Khan’s sale of gifts wasn’t illegal since he paid for the items and they belonged to him, he did undertake unethical behaviour, making false assertions and false declarations, and ended up barring him from holding public office for five years. 

In November, the ECP filed a complaint against Imran Khan, and criminal proceedings were subsequently initiated against Khan. The ECP claimed that Khan “deliberately concealed his assets relating to Toshakhana gifts retained by him, particularly in the year 2018 and 2019… in the statements of assets and liabilities filed for the year 2017-2018 and 2018-19”.

While the court adjourned the first hearing to December 2022, giving Khan’s lawyer time to certify the former PM’s bank records, Khan was injured in an assassination attempt during a rally in Punjab’s Wazirabad area.

He was granted interim bail by an Islamabad court and has received subsequent extensions due to medical reasons. 

Moreover, Khan was set to be indicted in the case, but his lawyers requested to exempt him from the hearing, but the plea was rejected and a non-bailable warrant was issued against Khan.

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The Cases Against Khan and the Cases He Filed

According to the litigation status report of Imran Khan provided by senior PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry, Khan himself is a petitioner in 19 cases which have been filed against government departments and individuals.

According to his litigation status report provided by Fawad Chaudhry, there are 37 total cases against Imran Khan in which he is directly involved.

A total of 21 FIRs were registered against Khan, out of which 19 were registered over the two days of his Azadi March on 25 and 26 May. The other three FIRs were registered on 8 August last year. However, Chaudhry’s list did not include recent cases against Khan. 

Five cases that Khan filed against the Federation of Pakistan are currently underway in the country’s Supreme Court. Meanwhile, Khan filed two cases against the ECP and two cases against him, all in the Islamabad High Court.

In the Lahore High Court, Khan filed six cases – two against the ECP and four against the Federation of Pakistan. In the same court, there are two ongoing cases against Khan. 

At the same time, the Peshawar High Court is also hearing two cases against Khan and one filed by the former PM. The Islamabad District Court is also hearing three cases against Khan. 

The ECP has filed five cases against Khan, which are the removal of chairmanship case, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa helicopter case, foreign funding case and contempt case for using inappropriate language against the commission and its chairperson. 

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Meanwhile, the FIA has also registered two cases against Khan, related to the ‘cypher controversy.’ Moreover, Khan also faces three cases in anti-terrorism courts and one case has been filed by the FIA Banking Crime Court Islamabad. 

However, the PTI chief had claimed that a grand total of 76 cases have been registered against him.

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Topics:  Pakistan   Imran Khan 

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