ISLAMABAD: The federal government has banned government officials including the president, prime minister and cabinet members from receiving Toshakhana gifts valued over $300.
Apart from that, judges and civil and military officers are also restricted from receiving gifts worth more than $300. The government, while issuing relevant instructions regarding the Toshakhana Policy 2023, has announced it will immediately implement it.
The new policy has been implemented after the 2002-2023 record showed top political leaders retained gifts after making minimum payments.
Toshakhana gifts and presents from foreign notables and dignitaries — given to senior state and government officials and deposited in a ‘treasure house’ — are usually considered the state’s possession. However, as per government policy, these gifts are only available to the political and bureaucratic elite, both civilian and military, and judges of the superior judiciary.
These most influential segments of society are traditionally allowed to retain the gifts received during official foreign tours or from dignitaries of foreign countries on highly-subsidised rates or they are auctioned to officers of the federal government and armed forces. Whatever is left becomes part of the Toshakhana.
According to sources, the government imposed a ban on receiving vehicles, watches, jewellery and other gifts worth millions of rupees.
The president, prime minister, cabinet members, judges and civil and military officers will be banned from receiving gifts worth more than $300 dollars, while the president, prime minister and cabinet members receiving cash as gifts from domestic and foreign dignitaries will also be prohibited, the sources said.
Judges and civil and military officers will also be banned from receiving cash as gifts from domestic and foreign dignitaries, and upon receiving forced cash gifts, they will be instructed to “immediately deposit” the entire amount to the national treasury, the sources said, adding that no person shall be authorised to purchase vehicles and valuable antiques received as gifts.
Under the new policy, gifted vehicles will be properly catalogued and displayed in the central pool of cars of the Cabinet Division, while valuable antiques will be displayed at official places owned by the government, the sources shared. Besides this, the president, prime minister, cabinet members, judges, and civil and military officers will be authorised to buy gifts worth less than $300 at market value, while the public will also be eligible to buy gifts worth more than $300 through an open auction, according to the policy.
According to the sources, apart from the president and PM, other officials will be banned from receiving gifts for their families and gold and silver coins will be handed over to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).
Strict action will be taken against anyone violating the Toshakhana policy, the sources shared, adding that officers of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be obliged to provide gifts to the Cabinet Division. The value of the gifts will be determined by expert officers of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and private firms, while the value of the weapons received as gifts will be determined by a private firm and the Pakistan Ordinance Factory.
The sources said that grade 1 to grade 4 employees will be able to receive cash as gifts from foreign dignitaries.