Islamabad, Pakistan: Malik Riaz of Bahria Town is a kind of mythical character whose offices all over Pakistan are filled with top senior retired civil and military bureaucrats as his staffers and even as his office boys. Some journalists believe that Bahria Town offices have more retired military men working inside than the Army Welfare Trust and its related organizations have. Such arrangements made him untouchable and he was beyond any law of the land but things are otherwise now since the state of Pakistan is on a cleansing campaign and everybody who was acting larger than the State is now under the clutches of state power.
His rise is amazing and he can surely be worded with the Greek mythological character of “Tyche”. The Greek historian Polybius believed that when no cause can be discovered for events such as floods, droughts, frosts, instant success, or even rise in politics, then the cause of these events may be fairly attributed to Tyche. However, his opponent accuses him of being “Dolus”, another Greek mythical character who is the spirit of trickery and who is also a master at cunning deception, craftiness, and treachery. There are even some stories of Dolos tricking gods into lies.
Chairman Bahria Town, Malik Riaz Hussain announces Rs. 5 crore crore for the dam funds after the appeal by the PM Pakistan Mr.Imran Khan#BahriaTown #DonateForDams #Pakistan #DamFunds pic.twitter.com/VO2CQ9xpxy
— Bahria Town Official (@BahriaTownOffic) September 8, 2018
Malik Riaz is accused of encroaching on state lands wherever and whenever he desires to and grabbing lands from people whenever it is needed for the expansion of his real estate projects. However, these are just allegations and he has never been punished for such accusations although thousands of people claim Malik Riaz has grabbed their lands. There are hundreds of cases registered against him all over Pakistan but he had never spent even an hour in any police station or any judicial lockup.
Malik Riaz’s rise is amazing and he can surely be worded with the Greek mythological character of “Tyche”. The Greek historian Polybius believed that when no cause can be discovered for events such as floods, droughts, frosts, instant success, or even rise in politics, then the cause of these events may be fairly attributed to Tyche
In October 2017, police registered an FIR against Malik Riaz and his son Ali Riaz when an Additional district and sessions judge (ADSJ) Sikandar Khan had ordered local police to book the accused on the complaint of a widow and other residents of Phulgran, located in the suburbs of the federal capital. Bhara Kahu police registered the FIR on Sept 29 under sections 109, 341, 379, 427, and 447 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), which deal with theft, wrongful restraint, mischief, and criminal trespass.
Some journalists believe reporting cases of alleged land grabbing by Malik Riaz is considered a sin for media men. Their beliefs are not very unfounded because journalists remember that the events of Bahria Town Karachi appeared on social media, despite many of the mainstream news outlets ignoring the incidents of violence in which Sindhi nationalist parties set fire to the Bahria Town management office in the city. Sindhi nationalist parties that led the attack said they had nothing to do with the violence and instead blamed the Bahria Town management, accusing them of sabotaging their peaceful protest. It was alleged that Bahria Town used force against villagers, and in turn, the Sindhi nationalists used violence against Bahria Town offices and property in Karachi. There was an avalanche of condemnation from the mainstream political elite against the violence perpetuated against Bahria Town in Karachi at the hands of Sindhi nationalists. A section of mainstream media went out of the way to make a villain out of Sindhi nationalists—blaming them for arson and violence against private property.
Sindhi nationalists claim that former president Asif Ali Zardari allegedly helped Malik Riaz to encroach lands of villagers and provincial government of Sindh helped him with land grabbing. After being in social media news, the issue died down and then Malik Riaz’s name came again to the surface when former Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah accused former prime minister Imran Khan of receiving hundreds of kanals of land from property tycoon Malik Riaz in return for protecting the latter in a money laundering case. He claimed that Bahria Town had illegally transferred Rs50 billion to a Pakistani national in the UK and the crime was informed by the UK’s National Crime Agency to the then PTI government. The NCA had said it accepted an offer of a staggering £190mn from the family of Malik Riaz after a months-long investigation into property and accounts connected to them. The money arrived in Pakistan and then it was adjusted against Bahria Town’s liability of Karachi Bahria Town case. This case also went under the carpet but reappeared when it was confirmed that former prime minister Imran Khan and his wife were beneficiaries. On January 20, 2024, the Islamabad Accountability Court ordered to freeze of the properties of property tycoon Malik Riaz Hussain and his son Ahmed Ali Riaz, who have been declared proclaimed offenders, in a 190-million-pound corruption case.
The accountability judge Mohammad Bashir issued orders to freeze the movable and immovable properties of Malik Riaz Hussan and his son including bank accounts and vehicles. The Court ordered revenue officers across the Country to seize the offenders’ immovable properties. The Excise and Taxation Officers WERE ordered to confiscate vehicles registered in their names. The Commercial Banks were directed to freeze their accounts and not allow transactions or withdrawals.
In the order, it was stated that the accused persons Malik Riaz and Ahmed Ali Riaz are declared as proclaimed offenders vide Order dated 06-01-2024 after completion of all proceedings/proclamation notices, as they are not appearing before the Court.
The events that led to the confiscation of Malik Riaz’s property
Malik Riaz and his family left Pakistan when the Al-Qadir Trust case appeared as a potential case that could clamp former prime minister Imran Khan.
Al-Qadir Trust case involved former prime minister Imran Khan for corruption and abuse of authority about a settlement between the PTI government Malik Riaz, which is said to have cost the national exchequer £190 million.
Malik Riaz had assets worth £190 million seized by the National Crime Agency (NCA) of the United Kingdom during the PTI administration. The assets would be transferred to the Pakistani government, according to the NCA. On 3 December 2019, then-Prime Minister Imran Khan received approval from his cabinet for the settlement with the UK crime agency without revealing the specifics of the private accord. According to the arrangement, the money would be presented to the Supreme Court on Malik Riaz’s behalf. After some months, Al-Qadir Trust was formed having PTI leaders Zulfi Bukhari, Babar Awan, Bushra Bibi, and her close friend Farah Khan as Trustees. Malik Riaz gave up the land and money for the construction. After a month, trustees Zulfi Bukhari and Babar Awan left the trust, leaving only two trustees that are Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Manika.
Investigation and Charges
The Al-Qadir Trust case was the subject of an investigation by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), which focused on claims of the abuse of authority in the process of retrieving monies from the UK crime agency. After significant evidence surfaced, the investigation subsequently developed into a full-fledged inquiry that implicated Imran Khan, Bushra Bibi, Barrister Shahzad Akbar, and Malik Riaz as suspects. Allegations against them include accepting unauthorized advantages in the form of land for the construction of Al-Qadir University, modifying cash supplied by the NCA to the Pakistani government, and allegedly providing legal protection for the money of Malik Riaz.