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Monday, May 27, 2024

Malik Riaz Alleges Political Pressure, Stands Firm Despite Business Losses

In a message on X, formerly Twitter, the real estate tycoon mentioned facing significant business losses and being pushed to the brink, although he did not specify who was pressuring him or for what purpose.

Bahria Town Chairman Malik Riaz claimed on Sunday that he was being pressured for political motives but firmly stated that he would not succumb to anyone’s demands.

In a message on X, formerly Twitter, the real estate tycoon mentioned facing significant business losses and being pushed to the brink, although he did not specify who was pressuring him or for what purpose.

Read more: Bahria Town incident exposes Pakistan’s inability to deal with protests

Known for his connections with political parties, the media, and both the civil and military establishments, Malik Riaz has long been considered ‘untouchable.’ When contacted by Dawn, several political experts and politicians were reluctant to comment on his claims, noting that he had not identified those he held responsible or their reasons.

However, it is widely speculated that Malik Riaz was referring to the Al Qadir Trust/University case, filed by NAB against PTI founder Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi. This £190 million corruption case alleges that, while serving as Prime Minister, Imran Khan and his wife received vast tracts of land from Bahria Town Ltd. to legalize Rs. 50 billion, which had been identified and repatriated by UK authorities.

On January 9, an accountability court froze the properties of five co-accused in the case, including Malik Riaz and his son Ahmed Ali Riaz, who were declared proclaimed offenders for not participating in the investigations. Currently, Malik Riaz is believed to be out of the country.

In his message on X, Malik Riaz stated, “Throughout my life, Allah has guided me to uphold my principle of not aligning with any political side or being used by one party against another. For over a year now, I’ve been under immense pressure to compromise, but I will never allow anyone to use me as a pawn for political motives.”

He described a recurring pattern of victimization against him and his business due to his innovative projects in Pakistan. “From 1996 until today, I have been ‘punished’ for contributing to the country’s progress. I have faced such pressures in the past with absolute grit and strength. Even today, in a personal capacity, I can say with utmost certainty, ‘over my dead body,'” he added.

Read more: Bahria Town payment deferral application to be reviewed by SC

Despite his ailing condition and distress, he stated that he stands firm against adversity, bearing daily financial business losses and being pushed to the wall, but will not surrender to pressure tactics. “Allah will guide and help me through this tough phase with dignity,” he said.

Reacting to Riaz’s statement, former president and PTI leader Arif Alvi asserted that the pressure cooker will “burst one of these days.”

“And who will suffer the damage? Not those who have ensured escape routes to foreign countries, but us loyal Pakistanis who have decided to live and die in our country,” he remarked.