ISLAMABAD - The controversy over the ‘missing’ necklace that was donated by the Turkish first lady to the flood victims of Pakistan was resolved on Friday when former Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani returned it to the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra)

A representative of former PM Gilani along with an FIA official visited the Nadra headquarters and returned the necklace to the authority, a Nadra spokesman said, adding Nadra Director Admin Maj (r) Amir Hayat received the necklace.

Former PM Gilani, the other day, in his reply to a questionnaire of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had stated that he would return the necklace to the government. The FIA, on the directions of Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, had launched an inquiry into the ‘missing’ necklace worth Rs 1.6 million missing from the treasury of Nadra.

According to official sources, a representative of PM Gilani along with an FIA official first went to the Cabinet Division to deposit the necklace with the Toshakhana (treasure house), but the authorities there refused to receive it, saying this was not their property. The Cabinet Division asked them to contact the Foreign Office. The Foreign Office was also not willing to receive it. Later, the representative of former PM Gilani came to the Nadra headquarters and the administration received the necklace.

An official of Nadra said that actually the auditors had raised an audit para on the purchase of the necklace for Rs 1.6 million. After Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan came to know about the audit para and found that the necklace was missing from Nadra treasury, he directed the FIA to initiate an inquiry into the missing necklace.

FIA Director Inam Ghani told The Nation that though former PM Gilani had deposited the necklace, final decision on the inquiry against him would be taken in the light of his statement and taking into consideration the legal position of the case. “After seeing all aspects of the case, the final decision would be taken on it,” he said.

The spouse of the then Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an (now president) donated this necklace for the flood victims in 2010. After she denoted the necklace, Prime Minister Gilani decided to give it to a flood-affected couple as he was to attend a marriage ceremony of flood victims in Dadu, Sindh, in 2010. However, then higher authorities at the last moment changed the mind and decided to purchase the necklace and give the money to the married couples. The Nadra chairman gave Rs 200,000 each to eight couples, fixing the value of the necklace at Rs 1.6 million. The necklace went into the possession of the then PM Gilani.

Former PM Gilani and then Nadra Chairman Ali Arshd Hakeem gave different statements to the FIA and the media, contradicting each other, about the purchase of the necklace and its possession. After the FIA launched an inquiry, Gilani publicly admitted that the necklace was in his possession.

Gilani, in his fresh reply to the FIA, also contradicted the claim of former Nadra chairman Ali Arshad Hakeem.

In a written response to the FIA questionnaire, Gilani said: “He never ordered the Nadra chairman to make payment for the necklace and the chairman voluntarily paid the amount to the newly married couples. After making the payment, the then Nadra chairman never sought possession of the necklace from the staff of the PM House. As a result, the staff of the PM House handed it over to my personal staff.”