By Irfan Ghauri
The annual declaration of assets and liabilities to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) shows that the net worth of assets belonging to both Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani have increased.
Shahbaz’s assets witnessed a tremendous increase of over 100% during the financial year 2011-12.
While the net worth of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s own assets crossed the Rs20 million mark for the first time this year, the assets declared by one of his sons, Abdul Kadir Gilani, a member of the Punjab Assembly, are much more than the premier’s himself.
On the other hand, Shahbaz in his annual declaration stated that the total worth of his assets now stands at Rs210.4 million. For the fiscal 2010-11 he had declared that the total worth of his assets and liabilities was Rs94.3 million only.
Still, the declared value of his own assets is less than the values of assets he declared for one of his wives, Nusrat Shahbaz – a housewife.
Shahbaz owns only one vehicle according to the form, and this too was a gift – a Land Cruiser.
Hamza Shahbaz, son and political heir of Shahbaz Sharif, declared that the total worth of his own assets and liabilities stand at Rs213.7 million while his wife Mehrunissah Hamza owns assets worth only Rs2.5 million. Hamza, however, left the column pertaining to vehicle ownership vacant.
Meanwhile, according to the prime minister’s declaration, the only business transaction he had during the whole year was the purchase of three acres of agriculture land in Hamidpur Kanora, in his native town Multan, priced at Rs4.8 million. The premier claimed that he purchased this land out of savings and cash in hand.
Despite having a fleet of official vehicles used for his protocol, PM Gilani is among those political leaders of the country who do not have a car of their own, according to his assets declaration.
Under the law, lawmakers are required to submit the statement of assets of their spouses and dependent members of the family. However, the premier avoided making the assets of his spouse public for the first time since he took up his office.
Ali Musa Gilani, the prime minister’s younger son who is currently facing corruption charges, did not have to declare his assets as he has been in office as an MNA for less than a year.
Eldest son Abdul Kadir Gilani, on the other hand, who is a member of the Punjab Assembly, has assets worth millions of rupees. Though he did not count the total worth of his assets, he has mentioned the value of some of his properties where their purchasing cost and present value are exactly the same, raising question marks as to when they were purchased.
Besides other properties and vehicles, he owns an imported bulletproof vehicle which according to his declaration is valued at Rs12.8 million.
Noor Alam Khan, a PPP member of the National Assembly from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa is apparently the richest parliamentarian in the country who declared that his assets are worth over Rs32 billion – thanks to the appreciation of value of his ancestral land in prime locations of Peshawar.
Other billionaires in the lower house of the parliament include Mehboobullah Jan (PPP), Shahid Khaqan Abbasi (PML-N) and Jehangir Khan Tareen (PTI).
Usually, members either do not declare their real assets or they undervalue their assets. Under the law, ECP annually publishes the assets of all the members of Senate as well as the national and provincial assemblies but it has no mechanism to counter-check the details provided by these lawmakers.
The net worth of assets of some other leading National Assembly members are: Federal Minister for Railways Ghulam Ahmed Bilour Rs1.7 billion, ANP Chairman Asfandyar Wali Khan Rs32 million, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar Rs14 million, Minister for Water and Power Naveed Qamar Rs32 million, Federal Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira Rs20 million, Federal Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan Rs46 million, Defence Minister Ahmed Mukhtar Rs51 million, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman Rs50 million and Faryal Talpur Rs116 million.