Pakistan: Court returns corruption reference against (former President, PM) Zardari and Nawaz


ISLAMABAD: An accountability court in Islamabad on Wednesday returned the Toshakhana graft reference against Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Zardari, and former prime ministers Nawaz Sharif and Yusuf Raza Gillani to National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

Judge Muhammed Bashir took up the case as an administrative judge after the completion of the term of his predecessor Asghar Ali. He returned the reference to a dirty money watchdog following the amendments to the accountability laws.

The court remarked that after the amendments in the NAB Ordinance, a case cannot be registered on an amount less than Rs500 million.

The case centres on a government department known as Toshakhana — which during the Mughal era referred to the treasure houses kept by the subcontinent’s princely rulers to store and display gifts lavished on them.

Government officials must declare all gifts to the Cabinet Division, but are allowed to keep those below a certain value.

More expensive items must go to Toshakhana under the administrative control of the Cabinet Division, but in some cases, the recipient can buy them back at around 50 percent of their value — a discount Khan raised from 20 percent while in office.

The ruling coalition of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) parties has for months alleged Imran Khan, former prime minister, and his wife, Bushra Maneka, received lavish gifts worth millions during trips abroad. They included luxury watches, jewellery, designer handbags and perfumes.__Pakistan Today