'Mera tohfa, meri marzi', says Imran Khan over controversy on selling 'gifted necklace'
Islamabad, Apr 19: Responding to the controversy surrounding the selling of gifts from Toshakhana, former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan on Monday said they were his gifts, so it was his choice whether to keep them or not.
According to Pakistan's law, any gift received from dignitaries of a foreign state must be put in the state depository or the Toshakhana.
"Mera tohfa, meri marzi [my gift, my choice]," Geo News Pakistan quoted Khan -- the first Pakistani prime minister to be ousted through a no-confidence motion -- as saying during an informal conversation.
The cricketer-turned-politician, in a response to allegations levelled by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), stated that his rival party's allegations regarding selling gifts from Toshakhana were baseless as whatever he "bought from Toshakhana is on record and if anyone has an evidence regarding corruption, he should come forward".
"I thank God, that in three years (of rule), all they have got against me is this Toshakhana gift scandal, which is already on record," ARY News Pakistan quoted Khan as saying.
"I deposited a gift sent by a president at my residence. Whatever I took from Toshakana is on record. I purchased the gifts after paying 50 per cent of the cost," Khan said.
"Had I wanted to make money, I would have declared my house as a camp office but I did not," the chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party added.
The recently ousted prime minister maintained that he was well within his right to buy those gifts according to law and that he in fact changed the rules and made it mandatory for officials to pay at least 50 per cent of the value of the gift which was 25 per cent earlier.
The issue came to light last week when Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said that Khan during his tenure sold Toshakhana gifts worth Rs 140 million in Dubai. According to Pakistani media 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.