Pakistan's ousted Prime Minister Imran Khan earned Rs.36 [Pakistani Rupee] million by illegally selling three watches gifted to him by foreign dignitaries to a local watch dealer, according to a media report on June 29.
According to the details of an official inquiry shared with Geo News, Mr. Khan during his tenure as Prime Minister earned millions of rupees from these jewel-class watches collectively worth over Rs.154 million. The watches were gifted to him by foreign leaders.
The most expensive watch — more than Rs.101 million value — was retained by the-then Prime Minister at 20% of its value after his government amended the Toshakhana rules and settled the gift retention price at 50% of its original value, the report said.
Geo News reported that these watches were in addition to the sold Toshakhana gifts reported earlier in the media. According to Pakistan's law, any gift received from dignitaries of a foreign state must be put in the state depository or the Toshakhana.
Instead of buying those gifted jewel watches from Toshakhana from his own pocket, the cricketer-turned-politician first sold the watches and then deposited 20% of each in the government treasury, the report said, quoting documents and sale receipts.
Apparently, these gifts were never deposited in Toshakhana. The gift received by any government official is to be reported immediately, so its value can be assessed. Only after depositing the gifts, can the recipient pay a specific amount if he wants to retain it.
Toshakhana documents reveal that Khan earned Rs.36 million from the sale of these three expensive watches gifted by visiting dignitaries from friendly Gulf countries.
A real windfall profit was earned through sale of a watch — officially assessed at Rs.101 million — gifted to him by a high dignitary from the Middle East.
The 69-year-old Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief had declared that he sold the watch for Rs.51 million and deposited Rs.20 million in the government treasury, thus earning a whopping Rs.31 million. This reflects the watch was sold at half the price of its actual worth.
The watch was sold on January 22, 2019 after the-then PTI government amended the Toshakhana rules and retained the price of any gift at 50% from 20% of its assessed value. One Rolex Platinum watch gifted by a member of a royal family from a Gulf island was sold by Mr. Khan for Rs.5.2 million.
This expensive gift, as per the Toshakhana rules, was assessed by official evaluators for Rs. 3.8 million. He deposited in the government treasury 20% of the value amounting to Rs. 0.75 million, earning almost Rs. 4.5 million profit by selling this watch. This watch was sold in November 2018, two months after it was gifted to him.
Another Rolex watch gifted by a dignitary from the same Gulf nation was sold by the former Prime Minister for Rs. 1.8 million. The official value assessed for this watch was Rs. 1.5 million.
“The former Prime Minister paid Rs. 0.29 million, earning another profit of Rs. 1.5 million from this deal,” the report said.
All these gifts were sold to a local watch dealer. The record has the sale receipts along with pictures of these luxury watches. Responding to the Toshakana controversy, Mr. Khan earlier said they were his gifts, so it was his choice whether to keep them or not.
"Mera tohfa, meri marzi (my gift, my choice)," the PTI chairman had told reporters during an informal conversation. The issue came to light when Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said Mr. Khan during his tenure sold the Toshakhana gifts in Dubai worth Rs. 140 million.
According to reports, the former premier received 58 gifts worth more than Rs. 140 million from the world leaders during his three-and-a-half-year stint and retained all of them either by paying a negligible amount or even without any payment.
Meanwhile, accusing the current coalition government of corruption, Mr. Khan on Tuesday said the only way to fix the economy was to bring back half of billions of dollars kept abroad by the Zardari and Sharif families.
The former Prime Minister reiterated his demand for fair and transparent general election, describing it the only way to steer the country out of the political turmoil.
In his speech on the video-link, the PTI chairman wondered what catastrophe had occurred in the country that within two months, inflation had skyrocketed and electricity load shedding was making the public life miserable, while the economy had gone down and unemployment was increasing.
Taunting the incumbent government of Shehbaz Sharif, Mr. Khan said the government had to come up with a plan on inflation or fix the economy as they were considered "very experienced".
"Two families have been ruling the country for 30 years. Instead of reducing inflation and fixing the economy, they did only one thing i.e. the NRO-2 to finish corruption cases of Rs. 1,100 billion against themselves," the former premier said.
Mr. Khan said his government did not allow the price of electricity, diesel and petrol to go up despite the IMF pressure.