Declared assets: Rich Senators of a poor nation

Published: March 12, 2011

Election Commission cannot verify authenticity of claims made by the lawmakers.

ISLAMABAD: 

Despite rampant under-declaration of assets, Pakistani Senators have net worths running into the millions and even billions of rupees, according to details of asset declarations made public by the Election Commission of Pakistan.

The ECP, however, has no mechanism to verify the authenticity of claims made by the lawmakers.

Syed Nayyar Hussain Bukhari, the treasury leader in the Senate, has a 1990 model Chevrolet Caprice. He also owns 30-tola of gold valued at Rs1.2 million. The senator’s bank account holds Rs1.31 million in a UBL branch. He claims that the total worth of his furniture and articles of personal use is Rs200,000.

Bukhari, his spouse and his son own several properties in and around Islamabad. A commercial plot in Sector G-9/4 is  worth Rs15 million. He also purchased another plot for Rs1.8 million, which is now also worth Rs15 million. He also owns a 236-kanal plot of land in Haripur district which he inherited from his parents. The value of his land is shown to be Rs23.6 million. He purchased another 231-kanal piece of land in Jandala village which is now valued at Rs23.1 million. Another piece of land, measuring 20 kanals in Tarlai village was purchased for Rs15 million is worth almost the same. His spouse owns some “ancestral land” and owns a share in a house in a posh sector of Islamabad and in two CNG stations. His son owns a farmhouse worth Rs10 million.

Waseem Sajjad, leader of the opposition in the Senate, owns at least 10 plots, several houses and farmhouses besides shares and accounts in various domestic and international banks. The declared worth of his assets is said to be Rs131.6 million. He clarified that the market value he declared is approximate and the exact value can only be determined if the property is sold.

Ishaq Dar, PML-N’s parliamentary leader in Senate, is no different. According to him, he owns a House in Gulberg, Lahore which is, at present, worth Rs45 million. The Senator and his wife purchased 20 kanals of land “some time ago” in Islamabad for Rs7.02 million a kanal. He has not mentioned the current value of this land. The Senator has a villa in the UAE which he purchased for 10.18 million dirhams. Besides owning three luxury vehicles, including a Mercedes Benz said to be valued Rs10 million, Dar also holds shares and businesses worth “millions of dollars” inside and outside Pakistan. the value of his furniture, fittings and articles of personal use is just Rs250,000.

The declared assets of chief of the PML-Q Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain include “half a share in two residential houses” in posh localities of Islamabad and Lahore worth just Rs5.2 and Rs3.4 million, respectively. He did not give their current value. Shujaat declared that he owned 78 acres of agricultural land whose value, according to him, was only Rs376,667 while the value of another 12.5-acre land was Rs4.5 million. He owns shares worth Rs10.04 million and cash in bank accounts Rs51.78 million. Interestingly, Shujaat is among legislators who do not own a car.

MQM’s parliamentary leader in the Senate has four residential properties in Karachi. He valued his two houses in Karachi at  Rs61 million and 37 million, respectively. He has invested Rs5 million in two separate businesses. Another of the businesses in which he has invested is worth 150,000 dinars and $300,000. He owns two Toyota Prado SUVs both 2005 models, some jewellery and some cash in bank accounts.

PPP Senators Gul Muhammad Lot and Ammar Ahmad Khan are richest among Senators. Lot owns property valuing Rs1.351 billion inside and outside Pakistan and investments worth Rs1.42 billion. He has nine properties abroad.

The declared net value of assets of Ammar Ahmad Khan is Rs 1.152 billion. He has shown an investment of Rs 1.107 billion in his business. He owns four in Gulberg Lahore alone. Interestingly, his father ranks on top of the poorest Senators with net liabilities to the tune of Rs 197.6 million.

Azam Khan Swati owns six properties valuing over Rs520 million in the US and has 16 million dirhams in various properties in the UAE. He has declared the combined value of nine of his plots with built structures in Bahria town, at Rs150 million. He owns 10 plots in Islamabad, two houses in Abbotabad and some inherited property with forest infrastructure and houses.

Federal Minister Israrullah Zehri owns agricultural land spread over 50,000 acres and valued at billions of rupees in Balochistan. He also owns a bungalow each in Karachi and Quetta and a 40-acre plot of land in Gwadar.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 12th, 2011.

on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook

Reader Comments (13)

  • Mar 12, 2011 - 9:11AM

    Why is it that members of the JUI-F who hold public rallies against America are frequent visitors to it (Maulana Fazlur Rehman) and own massive property their (Azam Khan Swati)?

    Can we please also get all these individuals who own plots here and there and everywhere, tax returns as well? See if they add up?

    I am sure all these honrable gentleman who own properties in the West dont think twice about paying council taxes, bills, estate taxes etc.

    If it all adds up, then more power to them. If not then, well lets start trimming the deficit by having our honorable representatives set an example by paying their fair share and then move onto other arms of the state where the mighty and powerful dont even need to declare their assets. Recommend

  • Faizan
    Mar 12, 2011 - 10:38AM

    It is the blessings of Allah that he has given us Pakistan after uncountable number of sacrifices, and Insha Allah, these black spots will surely be removed soon, now the time has come.Recommend

  • Asfandyar
    Mar 12, 2011 - 10:51AM

    I challenge our dear tax authorities, which have recently been declaring that they are on the verge of cracking down on the wealthy, to first contact these affluent and influential politicians and find out how they have managed to amass so much wealth. And although I would like to give credit to these particular senators for at least declaring (some of) their wealth, now it is time they reveal the source of these funds and are taken to task accordingly. Recommend

  • Ajay
    Mar 12, 2011 - 11:13AM

    @Faizan:

    “black goats/spots will be removed soon ”
    It is 60 years late and there are no clear signs that newer black goats will not comeinto power after 2 years !

    It all boils down to 1 thing in the end:

    How decent are you and your attitudes
    towards other citizens, their sense of responsibility in taking intitiative and particpation in comunity/national/political activities, principles, dignity, honor, honesty, hard work, selflessness, spirit of sacrifice, kindness/empathy etc. All of these have been missing since Pakistan’s birth in majority of its people. Its leaders have never had any thought for others, only themselves, their greed is outmatched by shamlessness and cunning.

    As a result Pakistan has lost 60 years of time (that is 2 generations) and is still on the loosing path since it has not figured a way out. These mullahs and feudals would not have persevered, would not have taken power IFFFF the people of Pakistan had not been SLEEPING, IFFFF they had raised their voices against every injuctice, dishonesty, and senseless acts. Recommend

  • KR
    Mar 12, 2011 - 11:35AM

    Remember you can’t take these plots or gold with you, soooooooooo heaven or hell choice is yours. Recommend

  • Ali
    Mar 12, 2011 - 6:01PM

    Only a fool would believe that these declarations are truthful.Most of these assets declared are homes, cars inherited family wealth; things that can not be hidden because everyone knows about them.Notice there is no mention of foreign bank accounts, only the Pakistani accounts which hold small sums for a politician. Many of their children study abroad, and with their savings I doubt they could fund them for a single year.
    I am willing to bet that many of the PPP and PML senators have numerous homes in places like
    Dubai, US, Europe in addition to what they have declared.
    Obviously they can not be truthful as then the game would be up.
    There needs to be a rule, like there is in the UK, where if you can not prove the origin of your wealth it is confiscated because then it’s assumed that you have been involved in criminal activities. Also any assets that they do not declare should be confiscated,.

    PPP senators, who run on the ticket of clothes, food etc, and preach socialism are often the richest. Any notice any contradictions here?Recommend

  • Vaqas
    Mar 12, 2011 - 7:12PM

    Shujaat declared that he owned 78 acres of agricultural land whose value, according to him, was only Rs376,667

    If the senator is reading this, i will willingly pay Rs500,000 for that landRecommend

  • Khalid Rahim
    Mar 12, 2011 - 10:20PM

    Nobody from the Revenue Department physically checks the assets declared. A enator or MNA
    could declare four houses worth 120,000,000 rupees, whereas in fact he own an apartment and
    a house worth 46,000,000 rupees. Why did that senator or MNA declare an extra 74,000,000?
    Because that is what he/ she plan to acquire during their tenure by whatever ways and means available to him/ her. So next elections they can workout their target. A number of palms are greased and a few backs are rubbed with tender touch to insure nothing goes wrong. Recommend

  • Meekal Ahmed
    Mar 13, 2011 - 1:35AM

    Your opening sentence says it all: these assets are systematically biased downwards. Furthermore except in a couple of cases they appear to relate to domestically-held assets only. Yet we know that ALL rich and upper middle-income Pakistani’s hold assets abroad.

    The more intesting question is: how much tax do they pay?

    And isn’t it a tragedy that the wealth tax was removed from the books by the previous government?

    Vaqas in India I think there is (still) a law that the government has the first option to buy assets at the declared price. Recommend

  • Ali
    Mar 13, 2011 - 1:55AM

    @Vaqas:
    That’s a very funny post.Recommend

  • Mar 13, 2011 - 5:27AM

    I am a common citizen of Pakistan born in Karachi. And I am very much concerned for the families of these rich senators. Most of them own furniture worth Rs.200,000 only. I personally ordered furniture for my room for Rs.500,000 two years back and I assure you sincerely that I am neither a landlord nor a politician as against these landlords. There is certainly more than meets the eye. Recommend

  • Malik Nasir
    Mar 14, 2011 - 1:04AM
  • Vaqas
    Mar 14, 2011 - 9:53PM

    For anyone interested, google Nawaz Sharif and income tax for multiple reports of how he paid almost no taxes and was apparently worth -4 billion rupees (liabilities greater than assets) during his last tenure as Prime Minister.
    He’s not alone by any means, as many members of other parties from the top down claim to have almost no assets, however, one look at their kids and spouses spending money will give a very different, but sadly real picture.
    In the US state of Alaska a senator was convicted of corruption for getting his bathroom renovated for free. Surprising this has never happened here considering how our ‘poor’ elected leaders can barely afford furniture.
    If you dig a little deeper and do the math, you’ll also find that most politicians have also understated their assets by hiding share ownership of public limited companies. The companies’ financial records are accessible through various means including on the internet, and lists of major shareholders, including holding companies (a popular way to hide their real names) can be accessed through a little hard work and common sense.

    Thanks to all who liked the last postRecommend

More in Pakistan