Malik Riaz Hussain born on February 8, 1954, in Sialkot, while his father was contractor and living in 5 Marla Rented House. His father suffered heavy losses in business which forced Riaz to drop out of high school after completing his matriculation and started working as a clerk.
Riaz later worked as a low-key contractor with a construction company in Rawalpindi for some time and often worked part-time as painting houses to earn his bread and paving roads.
Riaz was only 19 years old found himself working as a clerk at the Military Engineering Service (MES) — a civilian branch of the army that renovates and repairs houses — to help make ends meet for the family.
His big break came in 1979 when he borrowed 1,500 rupees (£75) from a friend and applied for a contract with the military’s engineering wing.
At the MES, Riaz slowly learned the ropes of the contracting trade, honing his skills and mastering the art of wheeling and dealing essential to the business.
In the 1980s Riaz moved to become a contractor, and in 1995 was contracted to develop a gated community for Pakistan Navy. The contract was eventually terminated.
Eventually he established his construction company named Hussain Global which ended up as Bahria Town in 1996. A case was filed against Riaz for using Bahria’s name and the navy’s insignia buty Supreme Court, which in 2001 ruled in Riaz’s favour and allowed him to continue to use Bahria’s name.
And so Bahria Town was born and Riaz gradually expanded it into one of the largest real-estate empires in Pakistan and consequently became one of the richest men in the country, with a net worth estimated to be in the hundreds of billions of rupees.
Now Malik Riaz is the founder and chairman of Bahria Town, the largest privately held real estate development company in Asia, It has has projects in Lahore, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Murree and Karachi.
Where he has built housing complexes, apartment buildings and golf courses in lavish developments that come with miniature copies of the Pyramids and amusement parks.
Bahria Town has also developed world’s 7th largest grand jamia mosque in Lahore, and is now constructing the third largest mosque in Karachi.
Malik Riaz is currently the 7th richest person in Pakistan, with an estimated wealth of over $1.5 billion. He is one of Pakistan’s most prominent philanthropists.
Riaz recalls the time, with much agony, who once sold his family silverware to take his infant daughter to hospital, as one of the most difficult times of his life.
The pains he suffered then included not having money for his daughter’s medical treatment, painting houses to earn his bread and paving roads.
Malik Riaz revealed that his success behind his business is that he makes His Allah the partner in all of his
Currently 110 Bahria Dastarkhawn are being run by Malik Riaz where more than a 100,000 people eat food for free from last 12 years. Malik Riaz tells his belief is that he has done 1% partnership with Allah in his business, it will never be in loss.
But Riaz’s rags-to-riches story is still a mysterious one, a tale which has been rife with controversy and allegations of extortion, land-grabbing, forgery, fraud and even murder. He himself has coyly alluded to some of those suspicions with his famous quip, “Mein file ke payyeh laga dayta houn (I attach wheels to files).”
In 2012 Riaz was was accused of paying Rs 400 million to Arsalan Iftikhar, son of the former Chief Justice, Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry, to gain influence in the judiciary.
Malik Riaz is said to have strong ties to Pakistan’s powerful people, including, politicians, army officers (serving and retired), bureaucrats and lawyers, he constructed the Rs 5 billion Bilawal House in Lahore as a “gift”.
Riaz currently faces several investigations by the national corruption watchdog. Among the allegations against him are illegally grabbing land and using favour with politicians to have state-owned property allotted to him at throwaway prices.
Riaz denies wrongdoing, and says he needs the platform of television news channels to help defend his reputation. “I don’t want to go into media, but there is no other way to handle this. I will go into media very soon, to stop blackmailers, I have decided that there is no way but to go into media.”
While the rise of Riaz from common clerk to billionaire tycoon, is shrouded in controversy and conjecture, his philanthropic endeavours have been out in the open for all to see, garnering him much-needed goodwill around the country.
He’s built hospitals in Lahore, Rawalpindi and Islamabad which provide dialysis treatment, kidney transplants and all other medical treatment free of charge. Bahria Dastarkhwan in Islamabad provides about 100,000 people with free meals twice a day.
To give or take, it clearly illustrates his one-point agenda: money. A billion here, a billion there, his simple philosophy is that if there is a problem, money can solve it.
Malik also publicly states that he has paid bribes to top politicians and judges. “If I tell you the amount of the biggest bribe I have ever paid, you will have a heart attack,”.
Malik Riaz Hussain, a man who boasts to keep judges, bureaucrats and government officials in his pocket is labelled as untouchable in Pakistan. He always finds a way out wherever he found hurdles.
His close friends say Riaz has the ability to judge a man’s greediness in one meeting and he then deals with him accordingly. Still, Malik Riaz has done wonders for the Pakistani middle class, providing them high quality residential facilities at a much lower cost.