An inestimable gift list. Data declassified over the weekend by the Pakistani government exposes the low-cost luxury goods enjoyed by members of the political and administrative elite since 2002. In Pakistan, government officials, parliamentarians and some senior administrative officials must declare all gifts received but are authorized to keep the less expensive ones. However, they can also acquire the most expensive presents at a significant discount.

Records show former military leader Pervez Musharraf, who died in February, kept a pearl necklace worth $250 in 2006 by paying just 750 rupees, or just 11 euros under the exchange rate at the time.

Rolex, BMW, Toyota SUVs…

Former President Asif Ali Zardari received three armored vehicles two years after the death of his wife Benazir Bhutto, the first modern woman to lead a Muslim country, killed in a suicide bombing in 2007. The Toyota SUV and the two BMWs were worth about $1.6 million but Asif Ali Zardari had paid the equivalent of only $240,000 to keep them.

The 21-carat gold crown, worth $500, was acquired in 2005 for almost a tenth of its value by Shaukat Aziz, then prime minister. Like the dozens of other people on this list – which does not detail the donors – former Prime Minister Imran Khan took this opportunity to buy in 2018 for around 6,000 dollars a Rolex estimated at nearly 32,000 dollars.

New limit in preparation

On Tuesday, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb announced that the government would introduce a new limit stipulating that gifts worth more than 300 dollars (280 euros) could no longer be redeemed and kept by their recipients. In many countries, diplomatic gifts are considered a symbolic exchange between cultures rather than goods intended for specific people.

Imran Khan, who was overthrown in April 2022 by a no-confidence motion but remains very popular, is accused in court of not having declared all the diplomatic gifts received under his mandate and of having made money by by reselling some.

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