Umair Jalali describes the increasing
tentacles of a scandal
When the news about lengthening shadows irregularities committed by the former PM and his wife in Tosha-khana first emerged it was taken with plenty of skepticism by many diehard PTI cadres rubbishing it with derision as they routinely do to any adverse news pertaining to their idol. However slowly detailed reports started emerging from various sources showing that this financial misdemeanour is far serious than initially thought about. Many seasoned observers are of considered opinion that PTI’s heightened protestations are an attempt to ward-off attention from Tosha-khana issues. Many reports claimed that former Prime Minister Imran Khan made more money in the first two months of being office by choosing to retain Tosha-khana items than he had from any single professional or business transaction throughout his life.
Interestingly, contrary to the claims made by the former prime minister and his cohorts, he has not fully declared the gifts received by him from the Lengthening shadows of Tosha-khana or the financial gains he made from these gifts in his annual tax returns. It is reported that the official papers of the Cabinet division when studied along with Imran Khan’s 41 years-long tax records bring to fore the enormous financial advantage he gained through Tosha-khana gifts. The maximum value of an asset declared by Imran Khan so far is Rs. 48,660,000 which is of the construction at his Zaman Park house in Lahore. He made much more than this amount by selling only one Tosha-khana item. In fact, the total value (Rs142,042,100) of these gifts retained by Imran Khan, as assessed by his own PTI government, is more than his total wealth (Rs141,084,948) declared by him in his latest tax returns in the year 2021.
The reports now indicate that through his cricket career to high-earning advertisements Imran Khan showed his earnings through tax returns amounting to around Rs.21.5 million but during his first two months in office as the Prime Minister, he retained Tosha-khana gifts of the value of Rs.106.383 million by paying only Rs.21.32 million and hence earned Rs.85.05 million during these 60 days. Along with keeping back free gifts of a value of Rs.163,000 during these initial two months, overall, he retained gifts of a value of Rs.142 million by paying Rs.38.1 million and also kept gifts of the value of Rs.800,200. He earned a profit of Rs.103.865 million during his term as the prime minister merely from the Tosha-khana gifts.
It was also reported that other than his business and professional ventures, he could not earn this much money even by selling his property. He earned Rs.69 million by selling his property in Ferozewala, near Lahore, in 2019 and received even this amount in three years in installments of Rs.23 million in 2017, Rs.27 million in 2018 and Rs.20 million in 2019. In his tax returns for the Financial Year 2018-19, Imran Khan declared Rs.39.58 million as an income from “Other Sources”. This amount, according to him, was the money that he made from the Tosha-khana gifts in this financial year. However, the value of the gifts retained by him in this period as assessed by his own government was Rs.109 million. Interestingly, he has not declared any Lengthening shadows of Tosha-khana items in this financial year which means he sold all of them. It may not be wrong to surmise that this was a gross mis-declaration as could be borne out by the fact that the value of only one item, a Rolex watch, was assessed by the PTI government Rs.85 million.
In the entire assessment there is no mention of any of his signed cricket bats being sold for tens of millions of rupees in his lifetime tax returns as is being portrayed by his spokespersons. While Imran Khan was retaining and subsequently selling the expensive Rolex watch gifted to Pakistan by Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman on 18 September, 2018, he already had Rs.9.6 million in his rupee bank accounts, Rs.24.02 million cash in hand, $381,230 in his dollar accounts and GBP7,068 in his pound account. It was also reported that he has been maintaining $300,000 to $500,000 in his foreign currency accounts for the last ten years. He is also maintaining cash in hand of around Rs.20 million for the last ten years or more.
The reports about Lengthening shadows of Tosha-khana scandal are reverberating around the country and it would suffice here to mention few of the expensive items to gauge the extent of malpractices committed by the former PM and his spouse. They include one Rolex Gent’s watch worth Rs.900,000; one Rolex watch for ladies worth Rs.400,000; one watch (Graff) valued at Rs.85,000,000; pair of cuff links Rs.5.67mn; one pen Rs.1.5 million; one ring Rs.8.75 million. One watch Rolex valued at Rs.3.8mn was retained after paying Rs.754,000 and another Rolex watch worth Rs.1.5 million received on 1 October 2018 and was retained after depositing Rs.294,000. TW