IHC seeks details of PM’s foreign gifts till Nov 11

Cabinet Division says PIC order is ‘illegal, without lawful authority’


Our Correspondent October 17, 2021
IHC. PHOTO: Islamabad High Court website

ISLAMABAD:

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has granted time to the federal government to disclose the details of gifts received by Prime Minister Imran Khan from the foreign governments till November 11.

Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb, while hearing the government’s appeal, stated in a written order that the deputy attorney general had requested more time for judicial assistance in the Toshakhana (gift depository) reference.

The judge remarked that the court would hear the case on November 11.

Last month, a citizen named Rana Abrar Khalid had filed a petition with the Pakistan Information Commission (PIC) seeking to make the gifts received by PM Imran public.

Later, the PIC directed the Cabinet Division to provide the details of gifts received by the premier from foreign heads of states, heads of governments and other foreign dignitaries.

Read Govt refuses to reveal details of foreign gifts received by PM Imran

However, the government adopted the stance before the PIC that the matter did not fall within the ambit of the Right of Access to Information Act, 2017 and refused to provide the requested information.

Subsequently, the Cabinet Division challenged the order in a petition before the IHC, claiming that the PIC order was “illegal and without lawful authority”.

The government maintained that the disclosure of any information related to Toshakhana jeopardised the international ties.

Toshakhana is a department under the administrative control of the Cabinet Division. Established in 1974, it stores precious gifts given to rulers, parliamentarians, bureaucrats and officials by heads of other governments, states and foreign dignitaries.

It is mandatory that gifts of a certain value are kept in Toshakhana. However, officials can keep these gifts provided they pay a certain percentage of the price assessed by the Toshakhana evaluation committee.

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