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Malik RiazMalik Riaz Hussain is a property Tycoon and is amongst the most wealthiest and powerful people in Pakistan today. Malik Riaz, chairman of Bahria Town, started in the 1980s as a small-time contractor. As competitors targeted the rich, he built for the emerging middle class, becoming one of Pakistan’s richest developers. He is said to have funded many political parties including PPP, PMLN and PTI in the past and have close ties to top leadership of the country.

He is officially the 12th richest person in Pakistan as per Wikipedia.

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In depth

Early Life:

Malik Riaz Hussain was born on February 8, 1954 in Islamabad, Pakistan. Many people believe that Malik Riaz Hussain was born with a silver spoon in his mouth; however, the statement is only partially true for him. He was born into a wealthy family but his father’s business collapsed which forced him to start working as a clerical staff at the age of 19.

Twelfth Richest Man of Pakistan:

He started off as a small time contractor in 1980s; however, the details on how Hussain, from an ordinary clerk in Military Engineering Service (MES) climbed up the ladder of success and became one of the biggest business magnates of Pakistan are extremely sketchy. All the country knows is that he is the man behind Bahria Town, one of the largest private development projects to have materialised in Southeast Asian region.

Bahria town, which spans over an area of 45,000 square acres, along with its owner invited many speculations and controversies since the time of its construction.

Controversies and allegations:

The recent round of controversies which accuses Chief Justice’s son Arsalan Iftikhar to have accepted bribes amounting up to Rs400 million from him, is not the only controversy which mars his credibility.

National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is currently looking into another application filed by a former military officer Lt-Col (retd) Tariq Kamal, which states that the land on which Bahria town is constructed, and is further expanding, was not acquired through legal means. It is alleged that Hussain has strong ties with Pakistan’s military which assisted him in building a huge empire. Some claims go as far as saying that a handful of the important serving army officers, bureaucrats and lawyers are practically on Hussian’s payroll.

According to the sources and reports, Hussain with the help of Defence Housing Authority (DHA) had grabbed Rs62 billion worth of land from an estimated number of 150,000 people belonging to lower and lower middle income group.

It is also alleged that Malik Riaz, in collaboration with DHA, had grabbed an area of the land of Dadhocha Dam and resold it multiple times under different names. It is alleged that the DHA Islamabad has been receiving money in the name of allotment of plots in DHA Phase I Extension, DHA Phase II Extension and DHA Valley since 2009. Those who got cheated through the DHA Valley project include 110,000 civilians, 41,000 serving and retired military officers, jawans and families of martyrs. Total land in question is considered to be covering 165,000 kanals.

DHA and Hussain are also allegedly accused for keeping the people, who paid for the plots, in dark regarding DHA’s agreement with Bahria Town. Col Tariq said that in 2009 the DHA had “transferred all the funds raised from the public, which were Rs62 billion, to the accounts of Bahria Town”.

It is also alleged that DHA employee who voiced their concerns regarding the dubious transactions and exchange of funds were sacked immediately.

It is assumed that the reason why Hussain was bribing Arsalan Iftikhar and financing his trips to London was to gain influence into the judicial circle and buy the verdict of the charges levelled against him. Arsalan Iftikhar blatantly denied the allegations; however, various witnesses testified during the hearing of the suo moto action and admitted that Hussain had shown them the documents which proved Iftikhar’s involvement in the scam.

Malik Riaz & Dr Arsalan Iftikhar Chaudhry Case:

A whispering campaign against Dr Arslan Iftikhar, a son of Chief Justice of Pakistan, has been roiling the country for the last few days and finally it ended up with the Supreme Court taking suo motu action.

The main character behind the episode is Bahria Town chairman Malik Riaz Hussain who claimed to have funded several sojourns of CJ’s son and also provided Rs 30 to 40 million to receive some favours from the country’s top court in various cases pending before it.

Some political analysts say the PPP government is behind the campaign against the Chief Justice as Malik Riaz enjoyed good relations with President Asif Ali Zardari.

Bahria Town is one of the largest real-estate developers in Pakistan and biggest housing society of Asia.

Bahria Town has projects in Lahore, Rawalpindi, and Islamabad and is planning to develop projects in Murree and Karachi. Malik Riaz Hussain, the force behind Bahria Town, started in the 1980s as a small-time contractor. As competitors targeted the rich, he built for the emerging middle class, becoming one of Pakistan’s richest developers.

Critics say Riaz’s Bahria Town empire has been fueled by close ties to the military. Ayesha Siddiqa, a civilian military analyst and author of “Military Inc: Inside Pakistan Military Economy,” alleges that those links have allowed him to acquire land, in some cases returning a percentage to senior officers as developed plots.

Bahria Town is also alleged to be associated with losses to investors resulting from delays to the projects.

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