Pakistan’s rulers have long been fond of luxury watches. All those who have ascended to the throne of Pakistan over the last fifteen years have not hesitated to keep luxury watches received as gifts from abroad.
Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has been sentenced to three years’ imprisonment in the Toshakhana case. As soon as the sentence was announced by the Islamabad High Court on Saturday, Imran Khan was arrested and sent to prison within minutes. Imran Khan will therefore be barred from standing for election for five years. Imran Khan is accused of keeping expensive gifts received from abroad by paying a nominal amount into the Treasury (Toshakhana) and then selling them at a high price.
These included five luxury watches costing not two lakhs, but hundreds of rupees. Pakistan’s rulers have always been fond of luxury watches. Even before Imran, many former prime ministers kept luxury watches as gifts. Although he was paid a nominal amount for them, no one knows where these watches are today.
In early March this year, following an order by the Lahore High Court, Toshkhana’s files were made public by the government. The files show that Pakistani politicians, bureaucrats and military men are very fond of luxury watches. The files show that politicians and bureaucrats in power in Pakistan between 2008 and 2022 received numerous luxury watches during their foreign tours. To adopt these watches, they paid a nominal amount and kept them with them.
From 2008 to 2013, politicians kept 60 watches
Between 2008 and 2013, Pakistan was governed by the Pakistan People’s Party. Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) politicians kept 60 watches worth Rs 1,000,000 20,000,000. The leaders paid only Rs 20,000 for these watches. Of these, then Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and his family paid just Rs. 351,526 for nine watches worth Rs. 21,000.
Meanwhile, Asif Ali Zardari, co-chairman of the PPP and President of Pakistan from 2008 to 2013, kept eight watches worth 44 million rupees on his person. For this, he had paid only 7 lakhs of rupees to the treasury.
From 2013 to 2018, the leaders of the PMLN are not to be outdone
Secondly, the Pakistan Muslim League N (PML-N) government, which took over the country’s throne, was not to be outdone. Representatives of this government kept a total of 54 watches worth 17.3 billion rupees, for which they only paid 3.4 billion rupees. PML-N leader and then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family kept 11 watches worth around 1,000,70,000 rupees, including five Rolexes. The family only paid 35 million rupees for these watches.
Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who was oil minister in Nawaz Sharif’s government and became prime minister in 2017, his family members kept 12 watches worth around 11 billion rupees with him. Among them were four Rolex watches. The family paid just 2,000 rupees for these watches.
Imran kept 20 watches from 2018 to 2022
After that, Imran Khan’s party, the PTI, came to power in Pakistan. When everyone else had done so, how could Imran Khan and his leaders stay behind? PTI officials had kept 20 watches worth around 11 billion rupees on their person. Only 2.7 million rupees were paid for them.
Imran Khan himself kept seven watches worth around 10 million rupees during his tenure. Imran only paid 2.1 billion rupees for them. Among the watches Imran kept with him were five Rolexes and one Graff.
What does the rule say?
In fact, Pakistani law stipulates that all gifts received by the Prime Minister, the President and high-ranking officials on foreign tours must be kept in the Toshakhana. The Toshakhana is a kind of public treasury. If the Prime Minister or President wishes to keep the gifts, he or she must pay the minimum amount set by the government. In 2011, the payment limit was set at 15% or 20%. However, when Imran Khan came to power, he changed the rule and increased the minimum payment from 20% to 50%.