Islamabad: An independent candidate in this year's elections in Pakistan has declared Rs403 billion (Dh12 billion) in assets, making him richer than all his peers.
The candidate, Mohammad Hussain Shaikh alias Munna shaikh, who is contesting from NA-182 constituency in Muzaffargarh city in the south-western Punjab, made the revelation in the asset details he submitted to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
Hussain Shaikh claims that he owns land comprising almost 40 per cent of Muzaffargarh city as well as the Lang Malana, Taliri, Chak Taliri and Latkaran areas, according to local media reports. He has declared ownership of more than 350 acres of gardens, three houses and household appliances in the documents.
However, Shaikh’s nomination papers indicate that he has not paid tax since his land had previously been disputed. Only recently, a Supreme Court bench comprising the chief justice, Justice Faisal Arab and Justice Umar Atta Bandial decided in his favour in a case that had lasted about 88 years.
Now, Shaikh is the proud owner of the previously disputed land worth nearly Rs400 billion besides other sections of land valued at tens of millions of rupees.
Pakistan’s richest election candidate hoped that political representatives contesting elections would also be honest about their wealth. “I have shown my assets with complete honesty. I appeal the chief justice to probe the assets of all politicians,” he was quoted as saying by The News.
Pakistan’s electoral body, ECP, has made it mandatory for aspiring election candidates to disclose their assets. The ECP is to publish the data of candidates on its website within the next few days to ensure transparency and accountability.
Recently, top politicians in the country revelaed that their assets are worth millions of rupees in the nomination papers submitted to ECP.
According to declarations, three-time premier Nawaz Sharif’s daughter Maryam has declared a total of Rs845m (Dh25m) worth of assets. The former president Asif Ali Zardari owns assets worth Rs758m. His son, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari who is the chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party, is reportedly twice as rich as his father.
The cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan who chairs Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) declared Rs38 million worth of holdings. PML-N leader and former Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif has declared assets totalling over Rs159m, while his son Hamza Shahbaz has declared his net assets worth over Rs411 million (Dh12m).