Malik Riaz The Land Grabber? – Hakeem Wadhela

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Many have heard or read about property tycoon Malik Riaz Hussain and his continuous success in real estate business. His Bahria town projects are undoubtedly the most successful in the private business sector of Pakistan. So who is Malik Riaz actually? Born in Islamabad, grew up in a middle-class family, his father was a small government contractor, whose business collapsed and a young Malik Riaz started working as a clerk at the Military Engineering Service (MES).

At his time in MES, Riaz slowly learned the ways of how the business with the help of the army works. From the 80s to 90s Riaz worked as a small-time contractor. In the mid 90s he was offered to develop two housing schemes in Lahore and Rawalpindi by the Bahria Foundation.

Since then Riaz has been using the name of Bahria Town, he was sued once by the Bahria foundation in 2000 for continuing to use Bahria’s name and insignia for his housing scheme. In 2001 a Supreme Court ruling in Riaz’s favour allowed him to continue to use Bahria’s name.

This is how Bahria Town was born and then Riaz has never stopped expanding his largest real-estate empire in Pakistan and with time he has become one of the richest men in Pakistan, with a net worth estimated to be in the hundreds of billions of rupees.

Malik Riaz has not only been involved in real estate but he is also known as one of the closest friends of ex president of Pakistan Mr Asif Ali Zardari, Riaz also enjoys the friendship of many in service and ex military officials. It is also to be mentioned that many in Pakistani electronic and print media always try to avoid speaking and writing against Malik Riaz. Many believe Malik Riaz pays a great sum of money to journalists to keep their mouths shut.

With billions of rupees in his pockets and the support he enjoys both from the civilian bureaucracy and from the military establishment. It seems almost impossible for anyone to raise an eyebrow against him in Pakistan. Since he knows he is above the law and no lawsuit can enforce a judgment against him that is why he openly grabs the lands of indigenous people and develops his Bahria Town project, leaving the local population in a helpless situation. Many left their lands and were not able to resist against Malik Riaz, but it seems that some of the indigenous people are not giving up against the most influential and powerful man of the country.

Baloch nation has a history of resistance and struggle against the oppressive forces. The Baloch people of Karachi believe that the Bahria Town project is an oppressive project to snatch their lands and lives from them and to force them to leave their historical lands and live without a roof.

According to the viral social media posts officials of Bahria Town, with the help of police and political authorities are bulldozing the lands of the local population of Noor Mohammad Gabol village and other villages of Kathor, Malir. When the locals resisted the bulldozing of their lands, the police arrested Murad Gabol S/of Faiz Mohammad Gabol and tortured many protesters. In a Twitter post shared by a local activist Hafeez Baloch shows that an officer known as Amir Ali was involved in bulldozing the area. According to the same post above, the person mentioned is a retired Army captain or a major who is currently working for Bahria Town.

This is one of the many evidence of the involvement of the deep state of Pakistan in the illegal businesses of Malik Riaz. On the other hand the so-called largest political party of Sindh who asks for votes and promises bread, clothes and home (Roti, Kapra aur Makaan) are also silently involved in the occupation of these lands.

Baloch Yakjehtee committee, an organisation fighting for the social rights of Baloch have announced a social media campaign against the forceful land grabbing on Friday the 30th of May. This is the responsibility of every person to raise voice against these land grabbing mafia, before they enter your town or village and force you to leave the lands of your ancestors.


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Balochistan Post or any of its editors.

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