A Dubai-based businessman has claimed that the previous government in Pakistan sold multi-million dollar luxury watch gifted to former PM Imran Khan by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, according to reports.
The Graff wristwatch, worth $2 million, was part of the gifts whose sale landed Imran Khan in controversy and subsequent politics ban.
Umar Farooq Zahoor, the businessman, has claimed he has evidence that the Pakistani government sold the expensive watch for $2 million in 2019. He said Farah Khan, a close aide of Imran Khan’s wife Bushra Bibi, met him in Dubai and was interested in luxury watches as they were rare and priceless, according to a report in Dawn.
The businessman claimed that in March 2019, former minister Mirza Shahzad Akbar had inquired him if he was interested in buying the watch. The minister then reportedly asked him to reach out to Farah Gogi, a close aide of Imran’s wife Bushra Bibi Khan, as she needed help and didn’t have any asset buyers.
“They [the PTI] wanted to sell the watch for USD 4 to USD 5 million, but after negotiations, I purchased it for USD 2 million," he reportedly said, adding that the payments were made in cash on Farah Khan’s insistence.
According to Pakistan’s law, any gift received from dignitaries of a foreign state must be put in the state depository or the Toshakhana for valuation.
The gift received by any government official is to be reported immediately, so its value can be assessed.
The officials are required to report any gifts they receive, but there is a limit below which they don’t have to disclose the full value. The expensive and larger gifts are deposited to the Toshakhana, but the law allows the government official to retain them if they ae able to buy them back at a discount of up to 50 percent.
Toshakhana documents reveal that Khan earned Rs 36 million from the sale of these expensive gifts obtained by visiting dignitaries from friendly Gulf countries.
The controversy had resulted in Khan’s disqualification from contesting elections as he was charged with making ‘false statements and erroneous declarations’.
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