Blue Dress and Tosha Khana

IRSHAD SALIM – Imran Khan has successfully Oscar Tangoed the overall concept of Tosha Khana to the country’s top court, which has reportedly sought -in public interest, the 20+ year of documentation and records of its beneficiaries, use & abuse, and to review its legitimacy from the constitutional and rule of law perspective.

This is akin to hammering a square peg in the huge round and deep dark hole the system has for decades.

Khan’s submissions of gifts that he had received in the national treasury (Tosha Khana) and purchasing (first right) some of them at or more (not less) than prices fixed by the State has been legal and legitimate -but has raised eye brows of his critics and detractors -including some charged media outlets.

His subsequent selling off the purchased items and using their sale proceeds though legal as per rules of business, and the court taking notice of the matter including that of the Tosha Khana in totality, actually helps Khan set new and higher standards for others to follow -this has been hitherto amiss in most cases.

Khan is an outsider in Pakistan’s beltway, and his marching on with battlecry against corruption has pushed critics and foes toward anatomizing decisions he took during the three and half years in power -Khan Sahib was ousted in March thru the infamous regime change op usually carried out in select regions, in order ‘to put ducks in a row’.

The Tosha Khana is now on the front burner and the stained blue dress is getting closeted –among other skeletons in the closet, this is the latest one of historical import.

Whether it was a ‘conspiracy’ or ‘interference’ which encouraged the opposition et al to topple Khan continues to rake in air time revenues just as the infamous ‘blue stained dress’ and Clinton’s famous one liner ‘I did not have sex with her’ did decades back.

Illustration by Sadia Tariq

To quote an analyst, “IK (Khan) is stupid; he tried to follow the laid down procedure of paying the discounted price and then retaining the gifts he received. Instead, he should have followed the practices of past rulers, specially the Sharif family and their cronies. He (IK) should never have declared that he received the gifts, and instead, should have retained them without depositing them in the Tosha Khana.”

How the court Tangoes Khan’s Oscar is yet to be seen though – many await its handling by the country’s judicial supremo as they harvest vlogs for clues. Some media outlets are on an overdrive though to color purple Khan for the gifts he purchased back from the State as per rules.

The Tosha Khana matter in my view could help the court dig up lots of dirts –such as who did what indiscretions, irregularities and illegalities –going back 20 years, and the court may then review and re-calibrate the concept and its legalities, operational procedures, etc. -all in public interest.

Overall indeed, the Tosha Khana is of public concern and therefore a suo moto on it deserves a thumbs up by all sans bias and partisanship.