ISLAMABAD: A team of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), accompanied by Rawalpindi police, raided the offices of Bahria Town in Rawalpindi, officials privy to the development said on Tuesday.

Though there was no official word from NAB or other authorities, some officials in the accountability bureau confirmed the development on the condition of anonymity.

NAB spokesperson Birj Lal expressed ignorance about the ‘raid’, saying: “The raid might have been conducted by NAB Rawalpindi, but I cannot confirm it.”

Another source said the intent behind the raid was to confiscate record related to the Al Qadir Trust case.

Bahria Town owner Malik Riaz and his son Ali Malik, who are currently said to be in the UAE, have already been declared proclaimed offenders in the Al-Qadir Trust case by an accountability court.

In response to this development, the controversial property tycoon took to X (formerly Twitter) to post what appeared to be a CCTV video of the purported raid, in which several men in plainclothes could be seen milling about, going through shelves and drawers in an office space.

However, it could not be ascertained from the footage whether it was indeed from the Bahria Town offices. The tycoon, however, reiterated on social media that he would not become an “approver” despite “oppression”.

In a subsequent tweet, he claimed the “raid lasted for hours” and that nine of his employees were allegedly taken away, along with office records and vehicles. He alleged that many Bahria Town properties and accounts were seized last month and urged the government to “release” his staffers and return the “seized equipment”.

In a cryptic post on social media last week, the property tycoon, who has a chequered history, complained that he was facing “pressure” to take a political side and was facing financial losses, but vowed not to be used as a “pawn for political motives”.

The statement was out of character for the Bahria Town owner, who is considered extremely well-connected with political parties, media and the country’s civil and military establishment.

His past is littered with cases alleging the use of questionable and high-handed land acquisition tactics for his opulent real estate projects.

He and his firm have also been at the centre of multiple court cases; most recently being ordered by the Supreme Court to pay the amount the real estate developer owed to the Sindh government for the acquisition of land for Bahria Town Karachi.

Published in Dawn, May 29th, 2024

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