In a bid to keep track of gifts received and retained by government functionaries on foreign visits, the federal government has made it mandatory to report these gifts to the Cabinet Division.
The condition applies to senior officials from the government and bureaucracy as well as the judiciary. Apart from the president and prime minister, provincial governors, the Senate chairperson and deputy, the National Assembly speaker and deputy, and the attorney-general are also required to submit their gifts. Among ministers, the condition applies to state ministers, dignitaries holding ministerial status (such as ministers-at-large), parliamentarians and members of provincial governments. All elected representatives, including those sitting in the federal and provincial governments, are also required to report.
Among the judiciary, the Supreme Court chief justice and judges as well as the chief justices and judges of high courts will be required to submit a list of gifts.
Gifts given up
According to the policy, all gifts, irrespective of price, are required to be deposited in the Toshakhana of the Cabinet Division immediately.
Gifts that are antiques or hold intrinsic historical value but have not been retained by the presidents, prime ministers and governors will be displayed in museums or official buildings. Vehicles that are not being retained will be added to the central pool of the Cabinet Division.
Government and public functionaries, except the president and head of the government, are prohibited from receiving gifts of any sort for themselves or their family members from diplomats, consulars and other foreign government representatives stationed in Pakistan.
If a gift is valued at Rs400,000 or more, only the president and the prime minister can retain it. The maximum monetary limit to be allowed for retention of gifts in one calendar year for any functionary, other than the president or prime minister, is Rs1 million. However, gifts that are valued in excess of the limit can be retained on payment of 65% of the assessed value.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 3rd, 2011.