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How Malik Riaz Escapes Law With Backing Of The Powerful

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The National Crime Agency in the United Kingdom today reached a settlement of £190,000mn with the Malik Riaz family.

The settlement given by Malik Riaz to the NCA includes a UK property, 1 Hyde Park Place, London, W2 2LH, valued at approximately £50 million and all of the funds in the frozen accounts. The NCA will return these assets to the state of Pakistan.

Malik Riaz is the chairman of one of the most valued housing societies and is alleged to frequently give luxurious gifts to politicians and military personnel. He is a controversial business tycoon in Pakistan and has been the focus of several corruption investigations.

In 2012, it had come to light that the businessmen had funded a ‘playboy’ lifestyle for the son of chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, Arsalan Iftikhar, in return for Arsalan influencing a Supreme Court decision in favour of Bahria Town. According to the Guardian, Riaz showered the chief justice’s son with cash and gifts worth £2mn.

In 2017, Malik Riaz had been nominated in an FIR after more than ten people were killed when a stage during ARY Zindagi’s show at Bahria Enclave Islamabad collapsed. What was notable about the incident was how media channels suppressed the news and the news did not get coverage from even renowned media outlets. Even more unsettling is the fact that till date, there has not been an official or media report on the number of people killed in the incident. The incident just showed how deep were the pockets of the business tycoon.

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In 2012, in what was one of the biggest scandals in media history, video footage of the business tycoon with TV anchors Mubashir Lucman and Meher Bukhari was leaked, which showed the three discussing what kind of questions would be asked. The video also showed the TV anchors receiving instructions from ‘high-ups’ that Riaz was not to be interrupted while he speaks.

However, the tycoon is not totally out of the reach of law. Even when he faces the law, he manages to settle the matter with money. In March 2019, the Supreme Court had accepted Bahria Town’s offer to pay Rs460 billion to acquire 16,896 acres of land off Karachi’s Super Highway. A year back in May 2018, the court had ruled that the process by which the land was granted by the Malir Development Authority to Bahria Town was illegal. While the case was going on, in October 2018, former chief justice Saqib Nisar had asked Malik Riaz during a hearing to submit Rs10trillion in the dam fund in order to settle the case.

In September this year, a report in Dawn had revealed how Bahria Town had used state machinery to deprive people off their land in Karachi’s Malir, with police raiding the land needed by Bahria Town and booking landowners under charges of terrorism. It had come to light that Bahria Town had collaborated with an MPA of Sindh’s ruling party, Pakistan Peoples Party, in the matter.

In October, the business tycoon had been summoned by the Federal Investigation Agency, in the murder case of social activist Parveen Rehman. Before her murder, Parveen had been helping poor landowners in Karachi by mapping and documenting land in over 2000 goths in Karachi. Of these, more than 800 were located in Gadap Town, where Bahria Town Karachi and other gated communities had taken over 30,000 acres of land.

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