Following a conviction in the Toshakhana case, the future of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman and former prime minister, Imran Khan, appears uncertain.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) didn’t take long to react. Through an official notification, the ECP declared Khan disqualified for five years. Their decision was grounded in the PTI chief’s corrupt practices, citing Section 167 of the Elections Act, 2017 and his three-year prison sentence as the foundation.
Elaborating on the decision, the notification highlighted, “Mr Imran Ahmed Khan Niazi has become disqualified under Article 63(1)(h) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan read with Section 232 of the Elections Act,2017.” The ECP also rescinded Khan’s status as the “returned candidate” from NA-45 Kurram-l.
The Conviction: Toshakhana Case
The Toshakhana case dates back to August 5, 2023, when Additional District and Sessions Judge (ADSJ) Humayun Dilawar sentenced Khan to a three-year prison term and a fine of Rs100,000. This judgement was reached after finding Khan guilty of corruption, particularly regarding misusing his authoritative position to monetize state gifts.
These gifts, accumulated to more than Rs140 million ($490,000), were offerings from foreign dignitaries during Khan’s international visits. After this conviction, Khan found himself incarcerated in Attock Jail. Reports from his counsel suggest less than satisfactory conditions, leading to petitions for a transfer to Adiala jail and an upgrade in facility standards.
Khan and his legal team remain combative. An appeal challenging the trial court’s decision was lodged in the Islamabad High Court (IHC). Their plea remains clear – revoke the verdict and acquit Khan.
Toshakhana Case: Deep Dive
For many, the term Toshakhana remains enigmatic. It’s a Persian word, translating to “treasure house”. Its regulations allow government officials to retain low-value gifts. However, they must pay a substantially reduced fee for more opulent items.
Scrutiny over Toshakhana mounted when allegations arose that Khan had purchased and subsequently sold these state gifts for substantial profit margins.
During Khan’s tenure from 2018 to 2022, it’s alleged that these gifts, some from a royal family and others including premium wristwatches like Rolex, were sold off, primarily in Dubai. One particular item, a “Master Graff limited edition” watch, carried a staggering price tag of 85 million Pakistani rupees ($385,000).
These allegations culminated in a reference to the ECP by National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf, which by October 2022, led to the declaration of Khan’s guilt and subsequent legal battles.