Imran Khan, associates face another Toshakhana case

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The federal government has filed a case of fraud and forgery against former Prime Minister Imran Khan, his wife Bushra Bibi, and their close associates. The allegations revolve around the preparation and submission of fake receipts related to Toshakhana gifts, including a rare Graff wristwatch gifted by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the former PM. The watch is currently owned by Dubai-based businessman Umar Farooq Zahoor.

After months of evading the issue, Khan confirmed in September of last year that he had sold at least four presents he received during his time as Prime Minister. Zahoor appeared on live TV, showcasing the watch and claiming that he had purchased it for $2 million from Farah Gogi in 2019.

Based on evidence, a case has been registered in Islamabad against Khan, Bushra Bibi, former accountability minister Shehzad Akbar, Zulfi Bukhari, Farah Gogi, and others under various sections of the Pakistan Penal Code. The charges include obtaining “illegal benefits” and engaging in fraudulent activities, including the preparation and submission of fake receipts.

The new FIR was filed after Muhammad Shafiq, the owner of a prominent watch shop called “Art of Time” in Islamabad, provided a written affidavit stating that he had not sold the Rolex watch. Shafiq alleged that the PTI leaders had forged receipts and used his shop’s name for their political purposes in the Toshakhana scandal.

The application states that the nominated individuals are involved in acts of forgery, and the shop owner’s confirmation further supports the claim of fabrication by the accused.

The FIR also highlights that no such transaction took place regarding the sale and purchase of the mentioned items with the accused individuals. It alleges fraud and forgery committed by the accused, calling for their prosecution and an independent investigation into each individual’s role.

Muhammad Shafiq’s affidavit emphasizes that his company’s reputation has been tarnished by the misuse of his shop’s name in the media. He intends to take legal action to protect his company’s reputation and customers.

The Toshakhana issue, concerning the sale of state gifts received by Imran Khan, gained significant attention in national politics after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) disqualified the former Prime Minister for making false statements and incorrect declarations. Umar Farooq Zahoor’s appearance on a talk show, where he provided proof of being the new owner of the rare watch, escalated the scandal further.

The gifts in question included a diamond Graff wristwatch, diamond cufflinks, a diamond gent’s ring, a rose gold pen set with pave diamonds, and an enamel Makkah Map.

Umar Farooq Zahoor claimed that he met Farah Gogi in Dubai and was immediately interested in purchasing the items due to their rarity and value. He stated that Gogi informed him about the watch’s history and expressed her intention to sell it on behalf of Imran Khan and his wife. Zahoor managed to negotiate a cash purchase of the watch for $2 million, even though Gogi initially sought a higher price.

Zahoor further alleged that Shahzad Akbar was fully involved in the deal and later attempted to blackmail him. He claimed that fake cases were registered against him in collusion with his former wife, model Sophia Mirza.

It is believed that Zahoor has provided Pakistani authorities with evidence confirming the authenticity of the watch he currently possesses, establishing it as the same watch gifted by the Saudi Crown Prince to Imran Khan.