Updated: November 16, 2022 4:39 p.m. STI
Islamabad [Pakistan]Nov 16 (ANI): A Dubai-based businessman has claimed that the former PTI government in 2019 sold a Graff wristwatch donated by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman to Prime Minister Imran Khan for 2 million dollars, or around 280 million rupees, Dawn reported.
The case is gaining prominence as the sale of Toshakhana gifts received by Imran Khan has become a national political issue.
Businessman Umar Farooq Zahoor says Farah Khan, a close friend of Khan’s wife, Bushra Bibi, met him in Dubai and was immediately interested as the luxury watches were ‘rare and priceless’ .
“[She] told me the story of the watch and told me that it was given to Imran Khan by the Saudi prince. She said she wanted to sell them on behalf of Imran and his wife,” he said.
Zahoor recalled that he was impressed after seeing the watch as it was a “limited edition piece, very rare in the world”. He said he also had the watch appraised, according to Dawn.
“They [the PTI] I wanted to sell the watch for between 4 and 5 million dollars, but after negotiations I bought it for 2 million dollars,” he said, adding that the payments had been made in cash at the insistence of Farah Khan.
Toshakhana’s issue over the sale of state gifts received by Imran Khan has become a major sticking point in national politics after Pakistan’s Election Commission disqualified the PTI leader for making “false statements and statement incorrect”.
“In March 2019, former Accountability Minister Shahzad Akbar said he had a pair of watches and if I was interested I should contact Farah. [Khan] (a close aide to Imran’s wife, Bushra Bibi) as she needed help and had no asset buyer,” Dawn quoted Zahoor as saying in an interview with Geo News.
But, Akbar denied ever meeting or speaking to Zahoor.
In a late Tuesday evening tweet, Akbar said: “It is sad that they are using a person against Imran Khan, whose citizenship has been revoked by Norway due to his crimes, who is wanted by Interpol, who has committed fraud in various countries and who smuggled his daughters into Dubai using false documents.”
He also claimed that a “false file” had been filed on Zahoor’s complaint last month to the Secretariat police station in Islamabad against him and the entire team of a former FIA director who were investigating a money laundering case against Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. Akbar insisted that the FIR was filed illegally since Zahoor was out of the country.
Earlier on September 19, during the hearing in the Toshakhana case, Imran Khan’s lawyer, Ali Zafar, admitted that his client sold at least four gifts he received in 2018-2019.
“The gifts were sold for Rs 58 million and their receipts were attached to the tax returns filed by my client,” the lawyer informed the ECP.
Gifts mentioned include MasterGraff Tourbillon Minute Repeater diamond with Makkah map dial GM2751, diamond cufflinks with 2.12 ct H IF and 2.11 ct I IF round diamonds GR46899, 7.20 cts diamond men’s ring , a rose gold VVSl pen set with pavé diamonds and an enamel Map of Mecca, Dawn reported.
Meanwhile, in August, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) filed the citation claiming that Khan had only paid for certain items he brought home from “Toshakhana”. Yet most of the items he took from the government treasury were taken without paying for them.
In the reference, it was alleged that Khan did not disclose the gifts he took and concealed the information in his statements, Geo news reported. (ANI)