LHC orders govt to release Toshakhana record from 1990 to 2001

LHC orders govt to release Toshakhana record from 1990 to 2001

Lahore (Web Desk): The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Wednesday ordered the government to make the record of Toshakhana gifts received by officeholders between 1990 and 2001 public.

Justice Asim Hafeez of the LHC issued the orders today while presiding a hearing on a petition filed by Munir Ahmad through Advocate Azhar Siddique seeking the government to make public the complete details of Toshakhana gifts received by political rulers and bureaucrats from foreign dignitaries since the creation of Pakistan.

During the hearing, the judge remarked that gifts received by Pakistan from friendly states should also be made public and that “nothing” should be hidden.

The federal government objected to sharing the source of a gift and said it would challenge the verdict. To this, Justice Asim Hafeez said it is your right to file a challenge.

“No one can retain the gift without making payment,” the order stated.

Earlier this month, the federal government released the Toshakhana record from 2002 onwards, exposing the political leadership of the country that benefitted from the depository.

The government had maintained that releasing all the records may harm Pakistan's relations with friendly countries, however, the court ignored these warnings and ordered to declassify records.

The Tosha­khana is a department under the administrative control of the Cabinet Division and stores precious gifts given to rulers, parliamentarians, bureaucrats, and officials by heads of other governments and states and foreign dignitaries.

According to Toshakhana rules, gifts/presents and other such materials received by persons to whom these rules apply shall be reported to the Cabinet Division.