Islamabad: a whispering campaign against Dr Arslan iftikhar Chaudhry, a son of Chief Justice of Pakistan, has been roiling the country for the last few days and finally it ended up with the Supreme Court taking suo motu action.
The main character behind the episode is Bahria Town chairman Malik Riaz Hussain who claimed to have funded several sojourns of CJ’s son and also provided Rs 30 to 40 million to receive some favours from the country’s top court in various cases pending before it.
Some political analysts say the PPP government is behind the campaign against the Chief Justice as Malik Riaz enjoyed good relations with President Asif Ali Zardari.
Bahria Town is one of the largest real-estate developers in Pakistan and biggest housing society of Asia.
Bahria Town has projects in Lahore, Rawalpindi, and Islamabad and is planning to develop projects in Murree and Karachi. Malik Riaz Hussain, the force behind Bahria Town, started in the 1980s as a small-time contractor. As competitors targeted the rich, he built for the emerging middle class, becoming one of Pakistan’s richest developers.
Critics say Riaz’s Bahria Town empire has been fueled by close ties to the military. Ayesha Siddiqa, a civilian military analyst and author of “Military Inc: Inside Pakistan Military Economy,”alleges that those links have allowed him to acquire land, in some cases returning a percentage to senior officers as developed plots.
Bahria Town is also alleged to be associated with losses to investors resulting from delays to the projects.