ISLAMABAD – Federal government makes Toshakhana gift records public for the first time in Pakistan’s history.
In a historic move, the federal government of Pakistan has released the record of gifts received by public officeholders from foreign governments and dignitaries since 2002. The 446-page document contains a comprehensive list of gifts received by presidents, prime ministers, and federal ministers over the years.
This development comes after Defence Minister Khawaja Asif’s recent statement that the government had no plans to declassify the data of the state repository that stores such gifts. However, the government’s decision to make the records public has been widely applauded, as it reflects the government’s commitment to transparency and accountability.
The document released by the government reveals that the current coalition government received 59 gifts from different countries in 2023. In 2022, 224 gifts were received, while 116 gifts were received in 2021. The year 2018 saw 175 gifts being received, while 91 gifts were received in 2014. In 2015, government officials received a total of 177 gifts.
The release of this information is a significant step towards promoting transparency and accountability in the government. It will allow the public to know who has been gifting public officials and what gifts they have been receiving. This information will help in promoting good governance and will also serve as a deterrent to corrupt practices.
It is important to note that the gifts received by public officials are subject to strict rules and regulations, and they are not allowed to keep the gifts personally. Instead, the gifts are deposited in the Toshakhana, a state repository, and are either put on display or auctioned off for the benefit of the state.
The release of the gift records is a positive development for Pakistan’s image on the international stage. It shows that the government is serious about promoting transparency and accountability and is committed to upholding democratic values.
Moreover, the government’s decision to release the records will have a positive impact on Pakistan’s ranking in international indices that measure transparency and accountability. It will also help in improving the country’s image among foreign investors, who look for countries with a strong commitment to good governance and transparency.
The Toshakhana department has been in existence since 1978 and is responsible for storing gifts received by public officeholders, including parliamentarians and bureaucrats. The recent release of the record of Toshakhana gifts by the federal government has shed light on the department’s operations.
The department’s significance was highlighted when the Election Commission of Pakistan initiated proceedings against former Prime Minister Imran Khan for not disclosing the details of Toshakhana gifts he had retained in his declaration. In a similar vein, last year, the ECP disqualified the PTI chief as a member of the National Assembly in the Toshakhana case for failing to disclose his gifts. Currently, a districts and sessions court in the federal capital is hearing a criminal case after it was referred by the electoral body.