Issue No 65, Nov 2-8, 2003 | ISSN:1684-2057 | satribune.com

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Shaukat Aziz has given the value of his $5M Manhattan Pent House as $175K

Huge Fraud Committed by Pakistani MPs in Assets Declarations

Special SAT Report

ISLAMABAD: Some of the top parliamentarians of today may be in trouble as General Musharraf’s arm-twisting machine, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has started looking into the sources of the assets they have declared as part of the election process.

“At the moment the NAB is looking into assets of Opposition MPs or those who they want to keep in control on the government side as well, but these assets, now on record with the Election Commission and partly made public officially, can cause trouble for any one any time, even after the present government is gone,” a senior political analyst said in Islamabad.

The list of those who have declared their millions and billions is interesting and repulsive as these political heavyweights have already made so much money while most of them cannot show where it came from.

The declarations leave many questions unanswered and also raise new questions as the deadlines for these declarations were specially shifted because Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz did not submit his assets and he wanted more time.

The forms and information required was also changed at the last moment and instead of asking when these assets were acquired and at what price and what was the current appraised price or market price, the MPs were asked only to declare the assets, without telling when and at what price they were acquired.

So it is unclear whether the millions declared by sitting ministers were made during their current stings or these people had these millions before joining the military government.

Interestingly the assets of National Assembly members have not been made public as it would be of specific interest to know what has been declared by the two sons of former Generals, Zia ul Haq and Akhtar Abdur Rehman. These two sons, Ejazul Haq and Humayun Akhtar, have become the prime examples of corruption and wealth accumulation by the army generals but they are being protected, at least so far.

More people belonging to the families of other generals will also be exposed when the assets of all National Assembly members are made public, if they are.

Most of 100 Senators of Pakistan are millionaires or billionaires, according to the details of their assets released by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). The details are based on the assets and liabilities statements filed by the senators with the ECP.

The assets have been evaluated by the owners themselves and in most cases anything worth a million dollars has been valued at just 10 per cent of the market price or even less. Even then there are billionaires by the dozen.

A number of senators have apparently disclosed their assets far below the present market value. According to the ECP, the richest member of the Senate is Azam Khan Swati, who was elected independent from the North West Frontier Province (NWFP). His wealth totals around Rs3.36755 billions. His major business is based in the United States where he owns a chain of stores. Swati has also obtained a loan of around $3 million from an American bank.

Liaquat Ali Bangalzai and Maulvi Agha Mohammad told the ECP they did not own even a penny. Ilyas Bilour said he owns Rs70 million assets but also mentioned loans of an equal amount. Mushahid Hussain showed assets of over Rs16 million. Nisar Memon disclosed assets of over Rs30 million.

Senate Chairman Mohammadmian Soomro has assets of over Rs8 million including a 92-kanal farm in Lahore worth just Rs1.8 million. Deputy Senate Chairman Khalilur Rehman has assets valuing Rs21.1 million. Prof Ghafoor Ahmad showed assets of Rs3 million. Wasim Sajjad disclosed assets over Rs10 million including a farm in Jheenga Galli with a price of just Rs18,000. Sajjad did not mention the value of the house at Canal Road in Lahore and just said he owns 15 percent share in it, which he inherited. Senator Tahira Latif showed assets of Rs27.5 million. Tariq Azim Khan and Mohammad Ali Durrani owned over Rs10 million assets each.

Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz revealed over Rs400 million assets while Ishaq Dar over Rs297.1 million. Both have millions of pounds and dollars in foreign banks. Ishaq Dar has 2.4 million pounds and 3,05,000 UAE dirhams. Aziz’s assets include a flat in the UK (worth Rs10.84 million), an apartment in New York (worth Rs10.1 million), a bungalow in Defense Society, Karachi, (worth Rs3.5 million) and a plot worth (Rs500,000). Aziz owns two apartments one each in London and New York with both having values in millions of rupees. He has 310,000 pounds in a bank in London, nearly 3 million dollars in Citibank in the US.

While the value of Shaukat Aziz's flat in UK is grossly undervalued, the New York Pent House that Aziz has estimated to be priced at Rs 10 million (or less than US$ 175,000) is actually a Pent House in the prestigious UN Plaza Building where the value of each Pent House is about 5 to 10 million dollars (between Rs 300m to Rs 600m).

“It shows in clear terms that the Finance Minister has played a direct fraud with the Pakistani authorities as in the current booming real estate market of New York, a one room studio in the heart of Manhattan would not be available for $175,000” a real estate agent said in New York. What his Pent House has is at least 3 bedrooms, a big living room, a servant quarter and the building has its own security systems, staff which monitors every visitor and is considered to be the most prime property in Manhattan. New York millionaire and Pakistani-American businessman and writer, Mansoor Ijaz, also owns a Pent House in the same building.

Former ISI Chief Lt-Gen (retd) Javed Ashraf, now senator, owns assets of about Rs40 million. Senator Latif Khosa has assets of over Rs150 million, S.M. Zafar nearly Rs60 million, Farooq Naek Rs13.1 million, Khalid Ranjha over Rs60 million and Dr Muhammad Khan nearly Rs90 million.

Several senators did not show the assets, which are in the name of their dependents. Wife of a former Air Force Chief Begum Razeena Aalam Khan showed assets of over Rs20 million. Senator Waqar Ahmed has wealth of over Rs23.5 million but his father, Gulzar Ahmed, also a Senator, owns just Rs1 million with loans of nearly Rs200 million. Asfandyar Wali has over Rs10 million assets.

Farhatullah Babar owns assets of over Rs4.9 million, Maulana Samiul Haq of Rs4.1 million, Fauzia Fakhruzzaman Rs42.4 million, Amin Dadabhoy nearly Rs20 million, Babar Khan Ghauri Rs30 million, Mian Raza Rabbani Rs17.5 million, Asif Jatoi Rs22.5 million, Dr Abdullah Rs262.2 million with millions of dollars in foreign banks. Maulana Shah Ahmad Noorani has assets of over Rs8.6 million, Senator Ahmed Ali Rs80 million and Anwar Begum Rs5.7 million.

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