So we're starting to get a vague idea of exactly how well-endowed (materially of course: the Election Commission gives short shrift to endowment of the intellectual variety) our political leaders really are, thanks to the self-declared, outdated-by-a-year asset declarations they have filed to the Election Commission of Pakistan.
According to this news item, Mr Asif Ali Zardari — a man not really known for his subtlety — owns six bulletproof luxury vehicles (we're talking three Land Cruisers, two BMWs and one Lexus); thousands of acres of agricultural land; dozens of properties in Pakistan, a single (?!) plot in Dubai; and millions of rupees worth of arms, horses and livestock. (Did we mention that he also has a UAE iqama?)
His self-declared net worth? Nearly Rs759 million — even though people are bound to have more than just a little trouble believing that.
His son, Bilawal, is far richer: a billionaire who owns two dozen properties within and outside Pakistan, has investments in Dubai (22 to be precise) and the UK (1), and owns the (ludicrously priced) Rs3m Bilawal House in Karachi. With all his wealth, however, Bilawal has never purchased a vehicle. (Also has a UAE iqama).
Speaking of the scions of our political elite, three-time 'first daughter' Maryam Nawaz has declared assets totalling Rs846m. She owns 1,506 kanals of agricultural land and had millions of rupees invested in multiple companies right before the start of the ongoing financial year, totaling Rs18,931,000.
Heard in the newsroom:
"Man, I want to be rich like Maryam."
Maryam had famously claimed in 2011 in an interview to Sana Bucha that neither she nor her brothers owned any properties outside or inside Pakistan. This matter was discussed in the Supreme Court last year during the Panama Papers case. Read about it here.
With all these high-flyers rolling in money, it is no wonder that the returning officer who accepted independent candidate Jibran Nasir's nomination papers was so suspicious of his modest wealth.
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