Buyer claims to have paid Farah Khan $2m to buy gifts from Toshakhana – Pakistan
KARACHI: Dubai-based businessman Umar Farooq Zahoor claimed on Tuesday that the PTI government sold an expensive Graff wristwatch – gifted to former Prime Minister Imran Khan by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman – for 2 million, worth around Rs 280 million at the time of sale in 2019.
Toshakhana’s issue over the sale of state gifts received by Imran Khan has become a major sticking point in national politics after the Election Commission of Pakistan disqualified the PTI leader for making “false statements and statement incorrect”.
After months of evading the subject, Mr Khan admitted in a written response on September 8 that he had sold at least four gifts he had received during his time as Prime Minister.
“In March 2019, former Accountability Minister Shahzad Akbar said he had a pair of watches and if I was interested I should contact Farah. [Khan] (a close aide to Imran’s wife, Bushra Bibi) as she needed help and had no asset buyer,” Zahoor said in an interview with Geo News‘Shahzeb Khanzada.
Says he negotiated $4-5 million price drop; Shahzad Akbar denies ever meeting Umar Farooq Zahoor
Gifts mentioned include MasterGraff Tourbillon Minute Repeater diamond with Makkah map dial GM2751, diamond cufflinks with 2.12 ct H IF and 2.11 ct I IF round diamonds GR46899, 7.20 cts diamond men’s ring , a pink gold VVSl pen set with pavé diamonds and an enamel Map of Mecca.
Mr Zahoor is said to be an influential business figure and has apparently been wanted by Norway, Switzerland, Turkey and Pakistan since 2009-2010 for various financial and other crimes.
The businessman is also accused of illegally taking his underage daughters abroad after obtaining their passports under fictitious names and parentage, even though the Lahore High Court (LHC) had already ordered that his name is on the Exit Control List (ECL).
In Tuesday’s interview, Mr Zahoor said he met Farah Khan in Dubai and was immediately interested as the items were “rare and priceless”.
“[She] told me the story of the watch and told me that it was given to Imran Khan by the Saudi prince. She said she wanted to sell them on behalf of Imran and his wife,” he said.
Mr Zahoor recalled that he was impressed after seeing the watch as it was a “limited edition piece, very rare in the world”. He said he also had the watch appraised.
“They [the PTI] I wanted to sell the watch for $4-5 million, but after negotiations I bought it for $2 million,” he said, adding that payments were made in cash at the insistence. by Farah Khan.
“As soon as the payment has been made, [she] Told [Shahzad] Akbar on the phone that the deal was done and thanked him for introducing it to me. Mr. Akbar thanked me for buying the Toshakhana gifts and asked me not to tell anyone about this matter. I agreed.”
During the broadcast on Geo News, Mr. Zahoor also showed the watch and repeatedly insisted that it was genuine. He also offered to provide further details if the issue was considered.
He also alleged that Shahzad Akbar tried to blackmail him following the court battle between the businessman and his ex-wife Sophia Mirza.
In a late-night tweet on Tuesday, Mr. Akbar denied ever meeting or speaking to Mr. Zahoor.
“It is sad that they are using a person against Imran Khan, whose citizenship has been revoked by Norway due to his crimes, who is wanted by Interpol, who has committed fraud in various countries and smuggled his daughters in Dubai using fake documents,” he said.
He also claimed a ‘false file’ had been filed on Mr Zahoor’s complaint last month at the Islamabad secretariat police station against him and the entire team of a former FIA director who were investigating on a money laundering case against Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. Mr. Akbar insisted that the FIR had been filed illegally since Mr. Zahoor was out of the country.
Posted in Dawn, November 16, 2022