Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has decided against retaining any foreign gifts and ordered all the presents he received during his foreign visits to be permanently displayed at the PM House, it emerged on Wednesday.
“The premier does not wish to retain any of the gift items presented to him during his visits to Saudi Arabia and UAE dated April 28 to April 30, 2022,” according to a notification issued by the Cabinet Division.
“The prime minister desires that as a policy, all precious gifts should be taken on charge by Toshakhana and consequently be permanently displayed at the PM House. The gifts would be displayed in secure display cabinets, equipped with alarm systems, under the responsibility of the Toshakhana.”
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The notification stated that in the first phase, five such cabinets dedicated to each country, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Turkey and China be prepared to showcase the gifts received from respective countries.
These would also include the presents PM Shehbaz received during his official visit to UAE and Saudi Arabia.
The gifts included a pair of wristwatches (A. LANGE & SOHNE Datograph Fly back — No 242655 and Rolex — model No 326259TBR Sr No 85C423E3), pair of cufflinks (Chopard), one pen (Chopard), a ring (Chopard) and a rosary (Chopard).
Furthermore, the PM has directed the authorities concerned to make arrangements to display the gifts to acquaint the masses with fraternal ties with the friendly countries.
Established in 1974, the 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, states and foreign dignitaries as a goodwill gesture.
Valuables in Toshakhana range from bulletproof cars, gold-plated souvenirs and expensive paintings to watches, ornaments, rugs and swords.
Toshakhana (Maintenance and Administration) Rules, 1974 (revised up to 2012), are applied to the president, prime minister, Senate chairman and deputy chairman, National Assembly speaker and deputy speaker, federal ministers, ministers of state, members of parliament, government servants and also employees of autonomous and semi-autonomous bodies, whether on duty or leave, serving in any capacity in connection with the affairs of the government or while on deputation with any other body, agency, institution or authority.
Under the rules, it is mandatory that gifts of a certain value are deposited in Toshakhana. However, an official is also allowed to keep these gifts provided they pay a certain percentage of the price assessed by the Toshakhana evaluation committee.
According to Toshakhana rules, gifts/presents and other such materials received by persons to whom these rules apply shall be reported to the Cabinet Division, indicating the nature and estimated value of the gifts. There should not be any undue delay in reporting the receipt of such gifts and those receiving should deposit them with the government.