UAE stays senators’ favourite spot for investment

Published November 10, 2020
Taj Mohammad Afridi (left) from erstwhile Fata is the richest senator with the total worth of his declared assets coming to Rs1.22 billion — a little over the assets possessed by federal Minister for Narcotics Control Senator Azam Khan Swati. — Photo courtesy Senate website
Taj Mohammad Afridi (left) from erstwhile Fata is the richest senator with the total worth of his declared assets coming to Rs1.22 billion — a little over the assets possessed by federal Minister for Narcotics Control Senator Azam Khan Swati. — Photo courtesy Senate website

ISLAMABAD: The United Arab Emirates (UAE) continues to be the favourite foreign destination of lawmakers for investment in business and properties, as most of around a dozen senators owning foreign assets invested in the Gulf emirate.

Taj Mohammad Afridi from erstwhile Fata is the richest senator with the total worth of his declared assets coming to Rs1.22 billion — a little over the assets possessed by the only other declared billionaire in the upper house of parliament and federal Minister for Narcotics Control Senator Azam Khan Swati.

According to the statements of assets and liabilities of senators for the year 2019 released by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Monday, Mr Afridi has total assets including agricultural and non-agricultural properties worth Rs1.17bn. He holds assets valued at Rs167.11m outside Pakistan — all in the UAE where he owns four properties.

He has liabilities of Rs376.51 million as business loans.

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) senator Swati has assets worth Rs1.21bn. He owns 10 properties valued Rs701.92m in the United States and the UAE besides an investment of over Rs475m. He also holds a dozen properties in Pakistan worth Rs460.70m.

Taj Afridi owns Rs1.22bn assets, followed by Azam Swati with net worth of Rs1.21bn

He has Rs59m cash in hand and holds Rs62.45m in his and his spouse’s bank accounts. He has brought assets worth Rs205.25m from abroad. The value of four vehicles he owns has been put at Rs59.46m. Mr Swati has liabilities of Rs811.23m abroad and the value of his assets after deducting liabilities comes to Rs1.21bn.

Another PTI senator, Mohammad Ayub, holds a house and a business in Dubai and investment in the UK. The house he owns is worth one million dollars while his business is valued at six million dirham. He also has investment of one million pounds in the UK.

Also from erstwhile Fata, Senator Aurangzeb Khan has properties and investments in the UAE. The number of his properties in Pakistan has grown from 10 to 13 in a year. These include an 11-kanal residential house in Murree purchased for Rs70m. He has not mentioned this time the 10-kanal plot in Bahria Town that he was fortunate to buy for Rs1m only in 2016. His latest investment is a medical centre built at the cost of Rs87.50m in Islamabad.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Senator Rahila Magsi sold her flat in the UK for 0.44m pounds and the amount was remitted to Pakistan. The property had been purchased for Rs34.76m in 2018, according to her previous year statement. She also had one flat in the UAE in 2018 valued at Rs12.30 million. Her number of properties in the UAE has doubled with the addition of a property at Jumairah, but surprisingly the value remains the same as shown for a single flat in Dubai last year.

Senator Shaheen Khalid Butt owns two properties in the US. The present market value of the properties is said to be $2.7m.

PML-N senator Nuzhat Sadiq has declared a house in the US in the name of her spouse. The cost and market value of the property is stated to be Rs3.6m and Rs20m, respectively.

Former interior minister Rehman Malik owns a house in the UK, the cost of which has been put at 1.3 million pounds. The Pakistan Peoples Party senator has secured a mortgage of 1.1 million pounds. He has 53,520 dirhams in a joint account with his spouse at Dubai Islamic Bank. He is director of a UK-registered think tank Global Security Advisers. He holds shares in Green Plus worth $300,000. His wife Dr Saeeda Iqbal is a shareholder in Peak Energy, the UAE.

PML-N senator Musadik Malik and his spouse have 25 per cent share each in an apartment in Bahrain. He has not disclosed who owns the remaining 50pc share. The total value of shares held in the property by the couple comes to Rs27m.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) senator Barrister Saif has given an advance of equivalent to Rs1.4m for a studio apartment in Dubai.

PPP senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar has one third share, Rs8.16m, in a house in the UK.

Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani owns a business company in Malaysia that, according to his statement, has not been operational since 2008. He has net assets worth Rs100m. His assets include over 23,000 kanals of agricultural land. His wife has gold jewellery weighing 1.5 kilograms.

Senator Rubina Khalid has 40,000 pounds in a bank account in the UK. Other senators who have a business capital abroad include Chaudhry Tanvir Khan and Shahzaib Durrani of the PML-N, and Atiq Sheikh of the MQM.

Published in Dawn, November 10th, 2020

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