Malik Riaz is in a mess of his own making 

The claims by Bahria Town chairman Malik Riaz that he would not bow down to political pressure need to be taken with a grain of salt.

There is nothing surprising about the property tycoon facing this pressure. His involvement in the Al-Qadir Trust case is a central political issue after all. This is the very case in which former prime minister Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi are implicated, and as per legal experts, the one case that poses the most serious threat to the former premier.

Malik Riaz is a party in this case accused of bribing Mr Khan and members of his government. Perhaps government forces had hoped Mr Riaz would be willing to testify against Mr Khan in exchange for a clean chit, but it seems he is reluctant to do so. Instead he has maintained a tacit silence. Even in his recent tweet Mr Riaz was rather cryptic.

One would do well to remember that the Al-Qadir trust case also came out of a Supreme Court case that Mr Riaz had been involved in. The Supreme Court had fined Bahria Town Rs 460 billion for alleged land grabbing in Karachi. At the same time, the National Crime Agency in the UK had charged a fine of nearly $200 million to Mr Riaz for illegal practices in the UK. This amount was to be repatriated to Pakistan. However, Mr Khan’s cabinet allegedly decided to submit this money into the account of the SC in lieu of the Rs 460 billion fine. The accusation is that Mr Riaz gave Mr Khan land for the Al-Qadir trust in exchange for this massive favour.

This paints a bleak picture for Mr Riaz, whose son is also involved in the case for allegedly buying nearly 300 kanals of land for Farha Shahzadi, a close associate of the former PM’s wife also involved in the case. At the same time, if the case results in the SC not counting the submission of the money into their accounts, then Bahria Town will be facing default. This will mean serious financial strife for Malik Riaz, who has until now seemed untouchable in Pakistan.

Has Malik Riaz been abandoned? As of now he does seem to be on his own. Only time will tell if the once invincible Mr Riaz will be struck down. What we do know is he got here as the result of his own actions.

The Editorial Department of Pakistan Today can be contacted at: [email protected].


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