LHC extends stay on Toshakhana auction

By: News Desk      Published: 02:28 PM, 9 Dec, 2020
LHC extends stay on Toshakhana auction

The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Wednesday extended the stay order issued earlier against the secretly auctioning items at Toshakhana – the state treasure house – and ordered the government to provide the record of the last five years, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

As Chief Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan resumed hearing of the matter, Deputy Attorney General Asad Bajwa submitted the federal government’s response.

In this connection, the LHC chief justice asked the government shared the details of auctions held during the last five years and who participated in the process before adjourning the hearing till the second week of next month (January 13, 2021).

Earlier, the court had directed the attorney general and other respondents in a petition filed by a citizen Adnan Paracha to submit their replies.

According to the original petition, the gifts given to the president, the prime minister and other state dignitaries/ officials are collected at the Toshakhana. But the government plans to auction these articles belonging to the state secretly without any legal justification.

The petitioner mentioned that letters were written only by the government officials (military and civil) for the process; therefore, the LHC should stop the auction scheduled for November 25.

Describing the inclusion of important personalities and exclusion of ordinary citizens from the process as a violation of Article 265 of the Constitution, he prayed the court to order an open auction.

Hearing the petition last month, the LHC chief justice had stayed the auction and issued notices to the respondents.

After hearing the preliminary arguments, Chief Justice Qasim Khan observed that prima facie, the process of the auction was in violation of Article 25 of the Constitution which envisaged equality of the citizens.