There are 12 billionaires in Pakistan's National Assembly while most of the other lawmakers were also wealthy, possessing large properties in the country and abroad and massive investments in stocks, according to a media report on Wednesday.
The lawmakers who are rolling in money and are holding precious assets include top politicians from almost all the mainstream parties, the Dawn News reported.
Landlords and capitalists dominate Pakistan’s 342-member National Assembly — the lower legislative house — with the majority of members possessing huge pieces of land and massive investments in stocks, shares and industrial units, it said, citing the statement of assets of the lawmakers for year 2019 released by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
As many as 12 out of the total 342 members of the National Assembly have declared that they own assets worth over a billion rupees. While five of the billionaire lawmakers are from the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) of Prime Minister Imran Khan, two are from its ally Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), three from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and one each from Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Awami National Party. Interestingly, many other leaders — including Khan, former premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi of the PML-N and PTI's Khayal Zaman Orakzai — who in the previous years had put the worth of their assets at over a billion rupees, opted to mention the cost of their assets this time, which is less than a billion.
Khan owns assets worth over Rs 80 million, though this does not include the value of his 300-kanal villa in Bani Gala that he says was a gift. However, this year he has not mentioned two properties, which he had listed in the statement of assets filed last year, measuring around 15 acres in the Bhakkar area. While Khan continues to possess four goats valued at Rs 200,000, he does not own any vehicle. He has Rs 77.53 million cash in hand and in the bank accounts. Khan also has 518 pounds in a foreign currency account and $331,230 in two other accounts. He has also given Rs 11.97 million in advance for a flat.
Ihsan Bajwa of PML-NPPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, who happens to be one of the 12 declared billionaires, has more assets in the UAE than in Pakistan. He has extended over Rs 1.24 billion loan to four companies from the money he inherited from his mother and former prime minister Benazir Bhutto after her assassination. He has shares in two villas in Dubai, but their value has not been mentioned in the statement. The total worth of his assets comes to Rs 1.58 billion. He owns 19 properties in Pakistan and weapons worth Rs 3 million.
Ihsan Bajwa, PML-N member from Bahawalnagar, is the richest among the lawmakers with total assets worth over Rs 4 billion, excluding liabilities in the UAE.
PTI lawmaker from Peshawar, Noor Alam Khan, is second in the line. He owns assets worth Rs 3.20 billion.