Toshakhana: Another case registered against PTI chief, wife for ‘forgery, fraud’

Former PM and close aides accused of submitting forged receipts regarding sale of state gifts including watch gifted by Saudi...

Wednesday, June 07, 2023
A collage of Toshakhana gifts reportedly sold by former PM Imran Khan. — GeoNews/File

LONDON/DUBAI: The federal government has registered a case of fraud and forgery against former prime minister Imran Khan, his wife Bushra Bibi and their close aides for preparing and submitting fake and forged receipts regarding Toshakhana gifts including the rare Graff wristwatch gifted by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the former PM – currently owned by Dubai-based multi-millionaire businessman Umar Farooq Zahoor.

After months of evading the topic, Khan confirmed in September last year that he had sold at least four presents he had received during his tenure as the prime minister and Zahoor has shown the watch on live TV saying he had bought the watch (MasterGraff Tourbillon Minute Repeater with Makkah map dial GM2751) from Farah Gogi for $2 million (worth approximately Rs 280m at the time of sale in 2019).

According to evidence, the case has been registered in Islamabad against Khan, Bushra Bibi, former accountability minister Shehzad Akbar, Zulfi Bukhari, Farah Gogi and others under Sections 420, 467, 468 and 471 of the PPC 1860 for getting “illegal benefits” and for “active collusion, connivance, by assisting, abetting, conspiring, and engaging with each other fraudulently not only prepared, fake, forged receipts regarding Toshakhana Gifts such as watch, cuff links but also submitted/executed the same as genuine on which an independent verification is being conducted and the same has established these receipts as fake and forged”.

The new first information report (FIR) has been registered after Islamabad’s leading watch dealer and “Art of Time” shop owner Muhammad Shafiq said in a written affidavit that he had not sold the Rolex watch and that the PTI leaders had faked his shop’s name and forged receipts for their political purposes in the Toshakhana scandal.

The application says that the nominated persons are involved in acts of forgery and forgery is supported by the fact that the shop owner has also confirmed the fabrication on part of the accused persons.

The FIR says: “Furthermore as per the record, no such transaction regarding sale and purchase of above-mentioned items has ever taken place with such nominated accused persons and neither the accused person has sold them any such items nor such items were purchased by him in person or through any of his agent/associate or employees working at his business. Such fact has clearly proven the fraud, and forgery committed by the accused persons for which they are liable to be prosecuted and further role of each and accused person may also be ascertained independently during the course of the investigation. The request to register the FIR is made through this application by the competent authority.”

The application is supported by an affidavit provided by Muhammad Shafiq as the owner of shop no 18, Gol Market F-7, Jinnah Super with its business name registered as “Art of Time”.

Muhammad Shafiq says in his affidavit that his company’s name is being defamed in the media.

He says in the affidavit: “I do hereby declare that we have never bought or sold Rolex watches (Platinum or Steel Gold) worth PKR 7 Million to anyone. My shop’s name and our company letterhead/receipt along with stamp is being misused without our permission to cater to certain politically motivated and media houses. I shall pursue legal action and criminal proceedings against anyone who wishes to banish or company’s reputation. This statement is being issued in accordance with Pakistani laws and we have the right to file a claim in courts to protect our customers and their reputation.”

The Toshakhana issue over the sale of state gifts received by Imran Khan became a major issue in national politics after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) disqualified the former premier for making “false statements and incorrect declaration”. The scandal went to the top level after Umar Farooq Zahoor appeared on Shahzeb Khanzada show on Geo and showed proof that he was the new owner of the rare watch.

“In March 2019, former accountability minister Shahzad Akbar said that he had a set of watches and if I was interested, I should reach out to Farah Khan (a close aide of Imran’s wife Bushra Bibi) as she needed help and didn’t have any asset buyer,” Umar Farooq Zahoor told Geo News.

The gifts included a diamond MasterGraff Tourbillon Minute Repeater with Makkah map dial GM2751, diamond cufflinks with 2.12ct H IF and 2.11ct I IF round diamonds GR46899, a diamond gent’s ring 7.20cts, VVSl rose gold pen set with pave diamonds and an enamel Makkah Map.

Umar Farooq Zahoor has said that he met Farah Gogi in Dubai and was instantly interested because the items were “rare and priceless”.

“[She] told me the history of the watch and said that they were gifted to Imran Khan by the Saudi prince. She said she wanted to sell these on Imran and his wife’s behalf,” he said, adding that Gogi wanted to sell the watch for $4 to $5 million but he managed to buy it for $2 million cash after negotiations.

Zahoor also said that Akbar was fully involved in the deal and later on tried to blackmail him and then registered fake cases against him in collusion with his former wife, model Sophia Mirza.

It is believed that Zahoor has handed over evidence to Pakistani authorities confirming that the watch he now owns is real and the same watch that was gifted by the Saudi crown prince to Khan.