Islamabad, November 11
There are 12 billionaires in Pakistan’s National Assembly while most of the other lawmakers were also wealthy, possessing large properties in the country and abroad and massive investments in stocks, according to a media report on Wednesday.
The lawmakers who are rolling in money and are holding precious assets include top politicians from almost all the mainstream parties, the Dawn News reported.
Landlords and capitalists dominate Pakistan’s 342-member National Assembly — the lower legislative house — with the majority of members possessing huge pieces of land and massive investments in stocks, shares and industrial units, it said, citing the statement of assets of the lawmakers for year 2019 released by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
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. Five of the declared billionaires are from Punjab, another five from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and two from Sindh, the report said.
While five of the billionaire lawmakers are from the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) of Prime Minister Imran Khan, two are from its ally Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), three from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and one each from Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Awami National Party (ANP).
Interestingly, many other leaders — including Prime Minister Khan, former premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi of the PML-N and PTI’s Khayal Zaman Orakzai — who in the previous years had put the worth of their assets at over a billion rupees, opted to mention the cost of their assets this time, which is less than a billion.
Prime Minister Khan owns assets worth over Rs 80 million, though this does not include the value of his 300-kanal villa in Bani Gala 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 the Bhakkar area.
While Khan continues to possess four goats valued at Rs 200,000, he does not own any vehicle. He has Rs 77.53 million cash in hand and in the bank accounts. Khan also has 518 pounds in a foreign currency account and USD 331,230 in two other accounts. He has also given Rs 11.97 million in advance for a flat.
PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, who happens to be one of the 12 declared billionaires, has more assets in the UAE than in Pakistan. He has extended over Rs 1.24 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, but their value has not been mentioned in the statement. The total worth of his assets comes to Rs 1.58 billion. He owns 19 properties in Pakistan including over 200 acres of land, most of which are inherited or gifted. He also owns weapons worth Rs 3 million.
Former president Asif Ali Zardari owns thousands of acres of agricultural land besides properties in Dubai. The total worth of his assets has been stated to be Rs 676.87 million out of which he has Rs 316.70 million 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. In Pakistan, he owns four non-agricultural properties, while he also has a house in London. Besides, he has two vehicles and Rs 21.9 million in bank accounts.
The value of his assets in Pakistan and abroad is Rs 247.49 million, but at the same time, he has liabilities worth Rs 146.67 million in terms of loans and mortgages in Pakistan and the UK, leaving his net worth at Rs 100.71 million.
Considering his liabilities, his first wife, Nusrat Shehbaz, with net wealth of Rs 235.21 million is richer. She has two houses — one each in Lahore and Dunga Gali, Hazara division, KP valued at Rs 186.58 million — besides shares in several agricultural properties, industrial units. She also has around Rs 30.67 million in cash and bank accounts. She does not own any vehicle.
The wealth of Shehbaz Sharif’s his second wife, Tehmina Shehbaz, remains around Rs 5.76 million, including Rs 4 million in terms of jewellery and household furniture, while her car is valued at Rs 500,000.
Ihsan Bajwa, PML-N member from Bahawalnagar, is the richest among the lawmakers with total assets worth over Rs 4 billion, excluding liabilities in the UAE.
PTI lawmaker from Peshawar, Noor Alam Khan, is second in the line. He owns assets worth Rs 3.20 billion.
Another PTI lawmaker from Peshawar, Arbab Umar Amir Ayub, owns assets worth over Rs 2.56 billion. Chaudhry Salik Hussain of the PML-Q, son of former premier Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, has declared the worth of his assets as Rs 1.60 billion.
PTI lawmaker Najib Haroon from Karachi is also a billionaire. He owns assets worth Rs 1.54 billion.
The other billionaires include Moonis Elahi (PML-Q), Mohammad Yaqoob Sheikh (PTI), A H Azam Khan Hoti (ANP), Noorul Hasan Tanveer (PML-N) and Minister for Power Omar Ayub (PTI). —PTI