Raid on Bahria Town offices unveils controversial ties and allegations

In a dramatic turn of events, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) conducted a surprise raid on the offices of Bahria Town in Rawalpindi, accompanied by the local police. The incident, which occurred on Tuesday, has ignited a flurry of speculations and reactions, particularly from the real estate conglomerate’s owner, Malik Riaz.

While no official statement has been issued by NAB, insiders confirmed the operation, stating it aimed to seize records related to the Al Qadir Trust case. This case has already led to Riaz and his son, Ali Malik, being declared proclaimed offenders by an accountability court. The duo is reportedly in the UAE, adding an international dimension to the unfolding saga.

The raid has raised eyebrows due to the NAB spokesperson Birj Lal’s ambiguous stance. “The raid might have been conducted by NAB Rawalpindi, but I cannot confirm it,” he stated, leaving room for speculation about internal communication and strategy within the bureau.

In an unexpected move, Riaz took to X (formerly Twitter) to share a CCTV video purportedly showing the raid. The footage, though unverifiable, depicts several men rifling through office shelves and drawers. Riaz’s posts further claimed that the raid lasted several hours, during which nine employees were detained, and numerous records and vehicles were confiscated. He also accused the authorities of seizing Bahria Town properties and accounts the previous month.

Riaz’s public reaction highlights a narrative of victimisation and political manipulation. He declared that despite intense pressure, he would not become an “approver” or capitulate to political demands. This stance, presented through his social media, paints a picture of a man under siege but steadfast.

Interestingly, last week, Riaz hinted at broader political pressures, suggesting attempts to coerce him into political alignments. Such statements are particularly striking given his reputedly robust connections across Pakistan’s political, media, and military landscapes. His history is marred by allegations of using aggressive tactics for land acquisition for his luxurious real estate projects, which have often been subjects of legal scrutiny.

The raid and Riaz’s allegations have opened a Pandora’s box, prompting discussions on accountability, political influence, and the extent of judicial reach in Pakistan. His firm’s legal troubles are not new; the Supreme Court recently mandated Bahria Town to pay substantial dues to the Sindh government for land acquisitions in Karachi, further entangling the developer in legal and financial challenges.

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