ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday adjourned the hearing into disqualification reference against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan over the Toshakhana gifts scandal till August 22.
A 5-member commission headed by the Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja heard the reference. Petitioner Mohsin Shahnawaz Ranjha and govt lawyer Khalid Ishaq Advocate appeared before the ECP.
The assistant counsel of Imran Khan’s lawyer Barrister Ali Zafar said he [Zafar] could not appear before due to a busy schedule, so the hearing should be adjourned. He also said that Imran Khan is no longer a member of the National Assembly.
The chief election commissioner said that in the eyes of the ECP, Imran Khan is still an MNA because the National Assembly Secretariat has not approved the resignation yet. A member cannot be de-notified unless the NA speaker approves and sends the resignation to the ECP, Raja said.
The CEC ordered the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf lawyer to provide the documents and adjourned the hearing till August 22.
‘My gifts, my choice’
About the PML-N and rival party’s allegations regarding selling gifts from toshakhana, the former PM said that whatever he bought from toshakhana is on record and if anyone has an evidence regarding corruption, he should come forward.
“I thank God, that in three years (of rule), all they have got against me is this toshakhana gift scandal, which is already on record,” said Imran Khan.
He maintained that he was well within his right to buy those gifts according to law and he in fact changed the rules and made it mandatory for officials to pay at least 50 percent of the value of the gift which was 25 percent in the past.
“My gifts, my choice,” the former prime minister responded to the criticism over the Toshakhana’s state gifts.
What is the Toshakhana?
Established in 1974, 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 as a goodwill gesture.
It has valuables ranging from bulletproof cars, gold-plated souvenirs and expensive paintings to watches, ornaments, rugs and swords.
As per the country’s law, any gift received from dignitaries of a foreign state must be put in the state depository or the Toshakhana.