12 billionaires among 342 NA members: ECP

Published November 11, 2020
PML-N MNA Ihsan Bajwa (L) and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari are among the declared billionaires. — Photo courtesy FB/File
PML-N MNA Ihsan Bajwa (L) and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari are among the declared billionaires. — Photo courtesy FB/File

• Imran, Abbasi no more billionaires as they declare assets’ cost instead of worth • Seven among 12 MNAs belong to ruling coalition • Landlords, capitalists dominate the National Assembly

ISLAMABAD: Landlords and capitalists dominate the National Assembly with the majority of its members possessing huge pieces of land, precious properties and massive investments in stocks, shares and industrial units and agriculture.

Those who are rolling in money and are holding precious assets include top politicians from almost all the mainstream political parties. As many as 12 out of the total 342 members of the National Assembly have declared that they own assets worth over a billion rupees, according to a statement of assets held by MNAs for year 2019 released by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday.

Five of the declared billionaires are from Punjab, another five from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and two from Sindh. They include five members from the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), two — both sons of the Chaudhrys of Gujrat — from its ally Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid, three from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and one each from Pakistan Peoples Party and Awami National Party.

Interestingly, many other leaders, who in the previous years had put the worth of their assets at over a billion rupees, including Prime Minister Imran Khan, former premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi of the PML-N and PTI’s Khayal Zaman Orakzai, opted to mention the cost of their assets this time, which is less than a billion.

PM Khan owns assets worth over Rs80 million though this does not include the value of his 300-kanal villa in Banigala that he says was a gift. Almost all other properties including a house in Lahore’s Zaman Park, around 600 acres (4,800 kanals) of agricultural land besides non-agricultural land, too, are stated to be inherited.

However, this year he has not mentioned two properties, which he had listed in the statement of assets filed last year, measuring around 15 acres in Bhakkar area.

While Prime Minister Khan continues to posses four goats valued at Rs200,000, he does not own any vehicle. He has Rs77.53m cash in hand and in the bank accounts, while the prime minister has £518 in a foreign currency account and $331,230 in two other foreign currency accounts. He has also given Rs11.97m in advance for a flat in Grand Hyatt complex.

Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, who happens to be one of the 12 declared billionaires, has more assets in the United Arab Emirates than in Pakistan and has extended over Rs1.24 billion loan to four companies from the money he inherited from his mother and former prime minister Benazir Bhutto after her assassination. The total value of his shares in the four companies forms only a small fraction of the amount he has lent to them.

He has shares in two villas in Dubai, one situated in Jumairah, but their value has not been mentioned in the statement.

The total worth of his assets comes to Rs1.58bn. He owns 19 properties in Pakistan including over 200 acres of land, most of which are inherited or gifted. He also owns weapons worth Rs3m.

Former president Asif Ali Zardari owns thousands of acres of agricultural land besides property in Dubai. The total worth of his assets has been stated to be Rs676.87 million out of which he has Rs316.70m cash in hand. He owns over a dozen properties in Pakistan besides his share in the five properties that he inherited from his spouse Benazir Bhutto.

Leader of the opposition Shehbaz Sharif has more than 83 acres of agricultural land gifted from his mother in Lahore and Shiekhupura. In Pakistan, he owns four non-agricultural properties — two each in Murree and Lahore — while he also has a house in London. Besides, he has two vehicles and Rs21.9m in bank accounts.

The value of his assets in the country and abroad is Rs247.49m, but at the same time, he has liabilities worth Rs146.67m in terms of loans and mortgages in Pakistan and the UK, leaving his net worth at Rs100.71m.

Considering his liabilities, his first wife, Nusrat Shehbaz, with net wealth of Rs235.21m is richer. She has two houses — one each in Lahore and Dunga Gali, Hazara division, KP valued at Rs186.58m — besides shares in several agricultural properties, industrial units. She also has around Rs30.67m in cash and bank accounts. She does not own any vehicle. The wealth of his second wife, Tehmina Shehbaz, remains around Rs5.76m, including Rs4m in terms of jewellery and household furniture, while her car is valued at Rs500,000.

Ihsan Bajwa, PML-N member from Bahawalnagar, is the richest among the lawmakers having total assets worth more than Rs4 billion, excluding liabilities in the UAE. He has huge business capital of Rs58.88 million dirhams, nine houses and one building in the Gulf emirate. The value of his agricultural property in Pakistan comes to Rs249.5m. He also owns commercial and residential properties valuing Rs92.5m.

PTI lawmaker from Peshawar, Noor Alam Khan is second in the line. He owns assets worth Rs3.20bn.

Another PTI lawmaker from Peshawar, Arbab Umar Amir Ayub, owns assets the worth of which comes to over 2.56bn. He owns 28 properties, including plots and poultry farms valuing Rs2.41bn, and has over Rs21m cash in hand and in bank accounts. He also owns five vehicles, valuing more than Rs33m, besides possessing 500 tolas (around 5.83kg) of gold.

Chaudhry Salik Hussain of the PML-Q, son of former premier Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, has declared the worth of his assets as Rs1.60bn. He holds millions of shares in different industrial groups and Rs380.48m in bank accounts.

PTI lawmaker Najib Haroon from Karachi’s North Nazimabad is also a billionaire. He owns assets worth Rs1.54bn. He has business capital of Rs1.50bn and properties worth Rs68.17m. He has Rs87.58m cash in hand and banks. He owns four vehicles valuing Rs42.39m.

The other billionaires in the National Assembly include Moonis Elahi of the PML-Q, PTI lawmaker Mohammad Yaqoob Sheikh from Dera Ismail Khan, ANP’s Amir Haider Azam Khan Hoti from Mardan, PML-N’s Noorul Hasan Tanveer from Bahawalnagar, and Minister for Power Omar Ayub, PTI lawmaker from Haripur.

Published in Dawn, November 11th, 2020

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