pakistan
Wednesday Dec 07 2022
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Umar Zahoor willing to return Graff watch to rightful owner to end controversy

Businessman Umar Farooq Zahoor. — Provided by the author
Businessman Umar Farooq Zahoor. — Provided by the author  

  • Zahoor says he bought this watch with pride.
  • Says he bought watch after paying hefty amount of $2mn.
  • Businessman says he was worried watch may end up in wrong hands.


LONDON: Despite the controversy surrounding the famous Graff Holy Kabah watch, businessman Umar Farooq Zahoor continues to cherish being the proud Muslim owner of this most unique and highly respectable possession which has a spiritual meaning attached to it.

“I bought this priceless watch with lots of pride because it is the only piece in the world that has the image of our Holy Kaaba,” he said in an interview.

The multi-millionaire Dubai-based businessman Zahoor says he bought the precious watch from former prime minister Imran Khan’s trusted family friend Farah Gogi after paying a hefty amount of $2 million. 

Farah Khan (known famously as Farah Gogi) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) have denied selling the watch directly to Zahoor but they have not questioned the fact that the businessman now possesses the rare watch and Pakistani media and politicians have asked Khan and Gogi to explain how the watched ended up with Zahoor. 

PTI has remained quiet also after Zahoor released evidence showing he was not a stranger to the party and discussed doing business with the PTI government through Fawad Chaudhary who also asked the businessman for financial favours including recommending a female friend for a job in his company.

Zahoor is extremely unhappy with how the story has unfolded and regrets how his image has been tarnished by the Pakistani media. 

“For us as a Pakistani nation, it was as precious and unique as the Kohinoor diamond used to be for the Mughals. When I came to know it is available for sale, I did not want to miss the opportunity, being worried it may end up in the wrong hands, especially the way it was marketed in Dubai through various l social media platforms” he said.

“I bought this watch due to its prestige and uniqueness. It is a limited edition and is the only piece in the world with the image of our Holy Kabah. I consider myself to be the luckiest man alive for having it. There is a huge spiritual element to it,” said Zahoor.

The Norwegian-Pakistani origin businessman said he imagined the watch to become a prized possession of the entire nation, which has not been the case. 

“When I saw the watch and rechecked its authenticity by the Graff shop in Dubai Mall, I wondered why a Pakistani prime minister or the government wanted to sell such a precious gift, which has such a strong religious and emotional value along with its materialistic cost. Moreover, the former prime minister Imran Khan always speaks about Riasat-e-Madina, how could he let go of such a precious piece.”

After Zahoor was interviewed on Geo News by Shahzeb Khanzada unleashing a storm, he came under attack from the PTI and was subjected to several allegations.

“They have used this episode to dig the buried past of false allegations and accused me of numerous wrongdoings, all because I chose to secure a precious item not to fall into wrong hands. They made allegations about the cooked-up cases which were made to target me and the reality of these cases and the people behind these cases is known to all but the facts didn’t matter to those who abused me,” he said.

Saudi Crown Arabia’s Prince Mohammad bin Salman gifted the famous watch to the PTI chief when he was the premier. It ended up in Zahoor’s hands following a deal he says he made with Gogi, the details of which have recently been open to interpretations, speculation, and allegations.

Zahoor expresses pride and prestige in holding the watch, calling it the most “priceless possession anyone can have”.

There are no signs that that controversy over the precious watch will end anytime soon but Zahoor hints at doing what it takes to end this controversy, which has embarrassed the entire nation of Pakistan as the Saudi government, a staunch ally of Pakistan in difficult times, has followed the story with unease.

“As an ordinary Pakistani, and as a token of gratitude toward Saudi Arabia, if given the opportunity I would like to return this watch to its rightful owner so that this controversy ends once and for all,” he proposed.

“I would cherish being the proud owner of this highly respectable watch all my life but if returning it ends this controversy and helps the Saudi-Pakistan relations, I would prefer doing just that,” Zahoor said.

The precious item has been described as Diamond MasterGraff Tourbillon Minute Repeater with Makkah Map Dial GM2751.

There have been numerous allegations and counter-allegations between Pakistan’s government and opposition since the news of the Toshakhana sale surfaced in the media. Even old cases involving Zahoor’s family disputes have been brought out to accuse him and prove his “ill-gotten” procurement of the watch but Zahoor rejects all such allegations.

“If I had the slightest idea that acquiring something as precious would lead to such mud-slinging, I wouldn’t have done this at all,” Zahoor noted. I just want to bring closure to this unnecessary controversy as I have no political agenda or any other ambitions whatsoever,” he said.

Soon after the watch issue came out, Khan’s former adviser Zulfi Bukhari claimed that the Graff watch was sold for $250.

In his defence, Bukhari produced a video by the Styleout Watches where claims were made about the watch in a funny way. After the PTI claimed it as proof of the watch price, Styleout Watches issued a formal statement backing up Zahoor’s position.

“We were approached by an undisclosed person to market this watch using our Instagram page. However, later we were later told that this watch has already been sold by a third party. Hence, any information about the watch being sold for USD 250,000 are incorrect and baseless," Styleout Watches said:

“We certify that we never bought or sold the Graff Makkah Map diamond MasterGaff Tourbillion minute repeater watch along diamond cufflinks and round gent’s ring, along with rose gold pen set with diamonds to any person."