LONDON/ISLAMABAD: In a scathing judgement against Messrs Park View Enclave (Pvt.) Limited which is owned and controlled by property magnate and PTI leader, Abdul Aleem Khan, the Islamabad High Court has declared the Non-Objection Certificate (NOC) issued to the housing scheme illegal.
In the 80 page judgement, the Chief Justice of Islamabad High Court writes: “When the petition was taken up on 21.11.2019, this Court was informed that the alleged activities were being illegally carried out by the private armed guards and officials of Messrs Park View Enclave (Pvt.) Limited hereinafter referred to as the “Company”.
“It was alleged that the Company was involved in massive land grabbing and other illegal activities with direct and indirect support of the police, revenue officials and the regulator.”
Chief Justice Athar Minaullah wrote how it was alleged that private armed guards were dispossessing citizens of their properties and that too of land which had been acquired but compensation relating to the build-up of properties was yet to be paid to the affected owners.
Justice Athar Minaullah wrote: “The No Objection Certificate was thus illegal, void and issued without lawful authority and jurisdiction.”
This is not the first time that Aleem Khan’s magnanimous wealth has come into scrutiny. In 2019, the billionaire tycoon, who served as a senior minister in the Punjab government was arrested by NAB on charges of assets beyond means, undeclared foreign properties and an undisclosed offshore company.
Senior sources in the National Accountability Bureau further confirmed that in September 2020, NAB approved filing a corruption reference in the accountability court against Aleem Khan for the possession of assets of at least 1.4 billion PKR beyond the declared source of his income.
The proposed draft of the reference states: “A number of properties of Aleem Khan in Pakistan and abroad have been identified which he failed to establish from which source of income he acquired. His two front men, Umar Farooq and Umair are accused of tampering with the record of Park View Housing Society and benefiting him millions of rupees.”
According to Aleem Khan’s asset declaration, the cost of the immovable property owned in Pakistan is slightly shy of 16 crores.
His business capital in Pakistan is mentioned at 90,000 PKR while business capital outside Pakistan is slightly over 80 lacs PKR.
The senior PTI leader has further declared the cost of his investments at 12.9 crores and has also declared a loan of over 1.2 billion PKR.
Aleem Khan has also declared his holdings in Park View in the detailed annexure in his asset declaration but the cost of his investment in Park View Housing Scheme does not exceed more than a few million while the value of the project is considered to be significantly higher, leading to alleged suspicions by NAB.
Previously, Aleem Khan accepted that he owned the following properties in London during a conversation with senior investigative journalist, Umar Cheema.
(1) Flat 1102 Balmoral Apartments, 2 Praed Street, London, W2 1JN; (2) 562 Park West, Edgware Road, London, W2 2RA; (3) Flat 142, Marble Arch Apartments, 11 Harrowby Street, London W1H 5PQ; (4) Flat A, 305 West End Quay, London W2 1JB.
Aleem Khan was the only parliamentarian to have declared his offshore company, Hexam Investment Overseas Limited which is registered in the British Virgin Islands.
In response to his offshore company, Aleem Khan replied: “I am a businessman dealing in real estate in Pakistan and outside Pakistan for the last 20 years. My business includes real estate developments, buying, selling, letting and trading of real estate assets inside and outside Pakistan. I am registered with FBR and have declared all my businesses and companies not only to the tax department but to the Election Commission of Pakistan as well. There is not a single company which I own and is not declared. I have no “bainami” accounts and businesses in any part of the world. All companies are under my name and declared with all concerned authorities.
“The company you have mentioned M/s. Hexam Investment is declared in my wealth statement with FBR and Election Commission of Pakistan as well. This company owns following four properties:
(1) 1102 Balmoral Apartments, 2 Praed Street, London W2 1JN
(2) 562 Park West, Edgware Road, London W2 2RA
(3) 142 Marble Arch Apartments, 11 Harrowby Street, London W1H 5PQ
(4) 305 West End Quay, London W2 1JB
“These properties were purchased through mortgage finance arrangements from the bank. As I stated earlier that I never concealed any wealth and income sources from tax department. I have also declared to the Election Commission of Pakistan M/s. Hexam Investment in my nomination papers for NA-122 as well.”
This correspondent reached out to Mr Aleem Khan for his comment on the recent IHC judgement but he did not respond to a request for comment as of the filing of this report.