Waj S. Khan's Real Estate Rumours

Aug 27th, 2010 | By | Category: Blogs

I love email. It makes communication fast and easy. No more standing around waiting for the post office to open if you only have a computer and an Internet account. Unfortunately, it’s the perfect way to spread all sorts of rumours and smears. “Hey, I was just forwarding an email!” That roughly translates to, “I want to gossip, but I don’t want to be responsible for whether or not its true!” In fact, it is such a problem that there are entire websites dedicated to debunking these “urban legends” that get circulated in emails. A good friend of mine often tells me that, “if it is in an email someone forwarded you, chances are it is not true!”

I also really like Wajahat S Khan. I think that, among the TV personalities out there, he is a pretty reliable guy. Of course, everybody makes mistakes. I think Waj made a pretty big mistake today with a post on his blog today about a “confidential email” claiming that Zardari bought a million pounds flat in London. Why is Waj spreading rumours and political propaganda?

This “confidential email” is simply another smear against Asif Zardari, as is clear from its closing lines:

This is a small reminder to the sick people in Pakistan, who were against the throwing of the shoe to a “Respected President of Pakistan abroad”!!!

They are purblind to the realities of the damage this man called Zardari has done to the nation.

But what damage would Zardari have done by buying a flat in London, if that is even the case? And why is Waj publishing a rumour that even declares that it doesn’t know the facts? The email itself says that “The final bid was made by mobile phone from inside a bullet proof car”. Is Asif Zardari the only man to own a mobile and a bullet proof car? What kind of proof is this?

Frankly, it’s quite disappointing that Waj saw fit to promote this sort of obvious political propaganda on his blog. As a respected journalist, he lends such obvious political smears an air of authority that they do not deserve. Why did he not exercise his investigative skills and do more research rather than simply repeating an obvious political rumour?

But let’s get to the meat of this email rumour, shall we? Actually, let’s see if there’s really any meat there, or if it’s just a mess of mashed pulses mixed with a handful of masala meant to fool the unsuspecting.

First, is it really newsworthy if Asif Zardari buys a flat in London? Look at other leaders. Pervez Musharraf owns a flat worth many millions of pounds. In fact, many Pakistani politicians own London flats.

The meeting took place at his apartment on the ninth floor of the Castleacre, Hyde Park Crescent.

The cost of the accommodation certainly runs into millions of pounds. Musharraf would not talk much about how he mobilised funds to purchase this because the money was ‘pooled’ by his own lecturing resources, his US-based son, Bilal, and the assistance from a friend that was not named.

It is the same locale, a few meters from the picturesque Hyde Park, where fabulously rich Pakistani politicians like Nawaz Sharif, still have or had apartments. As I reached the high security multi-storey plaza twenty minutes before the appointed time, I was greeted by a well-built Pakistani, wearing the traditional Safari suit of the same colour, and was told that Sahib has just finished his physical exercise, spanning one and a half hours.

Actually, the Sharif family are quite the wealthy landowners in London, with several properties worth millions of pounds each.

Of these, the Sharif family residence, three flats at 17 Avenfield House, 118 Park Lane alone are worth around 12 million pounds (Rs1.6 billion). According to documents available, Flagship Investments Limited, one of the companies run by the Sharif family in London, owns property worth around 10 million pounds in Central London. This does not include the value of the company’s offices. Hasan Nawaz Sharif, the son of PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, is listed as the director of company on official documents. According to its website www.flagshipinvestments.co.uk, the company refurbishes and redevelops luxury residential properties in top end Central London locations. Sought after properties in Mayfair, Knightsbridge, Kensington and Bayswater are their primary focus. The company’s address listed on the website is Stanhope House, Stanhope Place, Marble Arch – one of the city’s priciest neighbourhoods. However, according to documents, the company moved to Tower Bridge House on St Katherine’s Way in November 2007 – a much more upscale property located near the bank of the River Thames.

The company’s website lists several properties, which include Flat 8, Burwood Place – London W2, worth 700,000 pounds (Rs96.6 million); Flat 9, Burwood Place – London W2, worth 900,000 pounds (Rs124.2 million); 10 Duke Mansions, Duke Street, London W1, worth 1,495,000 pounds (Rs206.31 million); Flat 12a, 118 Park Lane, Mayfair – London SW1, worth 475,000 pounds (Rs65.55 million); Flat 2, 36 Green Street – London W1, worth 800,000 pounds (Rs110.4 million); and, 117 Gloucester Place, London W1 (value not listed). The website also features a piece of real estate near the Buckingham Palace, which is valued at around 4,450,000 pounds. In addition, one of the properties listed on the website – 841 Neil Gwynne House, Slone Avenue – is said to be the residence of one Waqar Ahmed, listed on the documents as the Company Secretary of Flagship Investments Limited.

MQM’s Altaf Hussain owns multiple million pound properties in the UK. Evan PTI’s Imran Khan’s massive property which includes a private cricket ground for his sons was paid for with the proceeds from a London real estate deal.

Like most world leaders, Asif Zardari is wealthy. This should not be any surprise. And while it is a popular for his political opponents to spread rumours about his wealth, it is also a fact that Asif Zardari was a very successful businessman long before he ever met Benazir Bhutto and got involved with politics.

While there is no evidence that Asif Zardari is the buyer of this flat, the buyer, however anonymous right now, will come to be known. All properties in the UK have to be registered, so even if it is bought in the name of a company, the owner will be easily traceable. Why not wait until the registration is complete to say who the buyer is? Is it because this is now political opportunity to undermine the credibility of the President? That’s fine for political operatives, but not for serious journalists. I expect better, Waj.

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  1. “QUOTE”

    PFUJ ultimatum to the Media Owners

    The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) has warned that if the salary and other lawful financial dues were not paid by the media owners before the Eid, the PFUJ would be constrained to issue call for besieging the houses of the Media Owners and this protects will be continued till the payment of the outstanding dues.

    Expressing concern over callousness of the media owners, the PFUJ pointed out that the salaries of media related employees were not paid in the TV Channels – ARY, Royal, News-One, Vibz, Din, Waqt, Channel-5, Wash, Dharti, Rohi, Punjab, Din, Waqt, Star Asia, City-42, DMD Digital, FM-103, Daily Din, Pakistan, Jinnah, Khabrain, The Post, Mukadama, Ausaf, Jinnah, Daily Aaj Kal, Daily Times, Daily Leader, Daily Khabrain, Daily Din, Daily Pakistan, Daily Leader, Daily Kainat, Daily Baluchistan Times, Daily Tamir-e-Sindh, Daily Nousjj, Karachi, Daily Such, Karachi, Daily Nawai Sindh, Daily Dafah Karachi, Daily Larkana Times, Daily Dawate Amal, Daily Muslim Peshawar, Daily Taraqi Quetta, Daily Sadai Potohar, Daily Janbaz, Daily Sadia Pakistan Bahawlpur, without any rhyme or reason.

    “Most of the electronic media and newspapers owners are so cruel that they have not paid salaries to their workers for 4 to 6 months together, not to speak of advance salary payment on the eve of Eid, the PFUJ added.

    The PFUJ said once again true face of media owners had been exposed. Though they claim to be the champions of rule of law, independence of judiciary, protectors of human rights, fundamental rights, civil liberties, rights of people, etc, however, they were adamant to make payment of lawful dues and salaries to their workers. If media workers ask for due salaries they are threatened of being removed from service.

    Quoting miserable conditions at the Khabrain, Royal, Star Asia, Punjab T.V. the PFUJ contended that their workers had not been paid salaries for the months of Jan. 2010 till todate.

    The PFUJ pointed out that in Rohi TV, Sama TV, ARY, News-one Royal T.V. Business Plus T.V. Punjab T.V. City-42, Star Asia TV, Daily Aaj Kal, Daily “Times, Daily Post, Daily Jinnah, Daily “Business Today”, Daily “Ausaf”, sacked more than 510 employees during the last 120 days against all norms of justice, law and equity on the pretext of “financial crunch.”

    The massive lay-off of media persons from the electronic media in the past eight months is also deplorable as over 680 media persons have been removed from their jobs without assigning any reason and justification under the garb of artificial “recession.”

    All those media owners, who have not being paying wages and other fringe benefits to their workers for months together and who had ordered massive dismissal of media persons, claim themselves to be the protectors of the rights of people. But there is none in the country to bring them to justice,” the PFUJ regretted.

    The PFUJ warned if such one-sided and cruel actions of media owners continued unchecked, media workers would be left with no option, but to resort to direct action, including besieging their houses and the PFUJ would expose them before the people here and abroad in all forums.

    Shamsul Islam Naz
    Secretary General
    PAKISTAN FEDERAL UNION OF JOURNALISTS
    12-Nazimuddin Road, F-6/1
    Islamabad, Pakistan
    Phone Office +92(0)51 2870220-1
    Facsimile +92(0)51 2870223
    Cellular +92(0)300 8665523

    “UNQUOTE”

  2. Criticizing the spreading of unsubstantiated rumors is one thing. And shamelessly defending corruption is quite another.

    While this apartment may not have been bought by Zardari, the following line shows the writers extreme bias in favor of him:

    “Like most world leaders, Asif Zardari is wealthy. This should not be any surprise. And while it is a popular for his political opponents to spread rumours about his wealth, it is also a fact that Asif Zardari was a very successful businessman long before he ever met Benazir Bhutto and got involved with politics.”

    Zardari’s wealth is explained by his being a ‘very successful businessman’. You need to be extremely dim witted to believe in this crap. Can you name what businesses he ran? I mean you can say Malik Bashir of Bahria Town is a very successful businessman. Mia Mansha is a very successful businessman. The Lakhani’s are very successful businessman. Sadruddin Hashwani is a successful businessman. The super wealth of all these people can be traced to very successful & well known companies.

    You want people to believe that Zardari got so rich running a cinema & selling cars at a showroom?

    And what kind of an justification is it that he is wealthy “like most world leaders”?

    Have you forgotten that for 10 years Zardari denied he had anything to do with Rockwood Estate or the Surrey Palace & then when the court ordered the property to be auctioned off since no owner was coming forth to claim it, he admitted that it was his?

    That in itself is enough proof of his corruption.

    And please, Imran Khan has never been in government, held any ministry & neither does he have the level of wealth of other politicians.

    This blog does a very good job of pointing out media bias but i think it is drifting itself too far to the other side. Certainly does not seem impartial at all.

  3. Al, I’m sorry that you think that this post is in any way intended to defend corruption – shamelessly or otherwise. There is no such intention, let me tell you. It is not for me to decide is Zardari corrupt or not corrupt, or did Zardari’s money come from his business dealings or some official corruption. That is a matter for the courts to decide based on the evidence. Either way, the point of this post was simply to say two points: First, Waj was incorrect to publicize this email which is clearly nothing more than a political attack. Second, if Zardari buys a flat in London, it is not unusual. It is certainly not proof of corruption.

    I thank you for your support of this blog and I will keep an eye on any sort of drifting away from objective analysis or partiality. Please comment again if you believe that there is some position being taken in a post. Just as we are keeping an eye on the media, we need you the readers to keep an eye on us also!

    🙂

  4. […] being circulated that Asif Zardari has purchased a London flat for some £140 million. Whereas Waj’s evidence was an email being forwarded around, Ms Ahmed’s proof comes from statements of Dr Saeed Elahi in The News. […]

  5. […] […]

  6. The ‘source’ of information of every Tom, Dick and Harry in Pakistan is anonymous e-mails which are circulated at a massive scale to all and sundry.Interestingly Asif Zardari has not even once been punished by the law of theland but he is rather being ‘slaughtered’ day in and day out through the hands of propagandists who find it increasingly difficult to digest a leader doing commendable services to his nation.No proofs are given and nobody even bothers to note whether the serious allegations are correct or otherwise.This is indeed sad that Asif Zardar is made target of character assassination campaigns every time just because PPP has soft democratic credentials.

    A mental retard in media known Shaheen Sehbai always appears with his utopia and most of his stories have proven wrong in the past as well.He actually wants to settle his personal score with Asif Zardari because Zardari refused to oblige him after becoming President..

    There should be a limit to character assassination in Pakistan.The likes of Shaheen Sehbai, Wajahat S, Ansar Abbasi, Rauf Klasra and Shireen Mazari have diverted the nation’s attention to real time issues due to their personal agendas.God knows better what the hell they want and why they are hell bent to malign Asif Zardari

  7. Naila Sadiq

    Abettors of tyranny always like dictatorship in Pakistan and the current propaganda that Asif Zardari has purchased an expensive flat in London is nothing but a figment of imagination of those who do not wish to see democracy thriving in Pakistan. We have paid huge price for this democracy as our beloved leader Benazir Bhutto rendered her life for its cause and we vow not to let conspirators derail this system come what may. Nothing has been proved against our leader Asif Zardari despite malicious propaganda campaigns.

  8. Recent bye-elections in Gujranwala and Bahawlpur amply demonstrate people of Pakistan do not believe in heresy against Zardari which is being spread by lap top warriors for the fulfillment of their nefarious designs. I remember there were conjectures regarding horses eating jam and marmalade in PM house during the first stint of BB Shaheed. But that was all fabricated. Why these ‘crusaders’ of virtue have risen against him if Asif Zardari wants to do something for this nation? Those who live in glass palaces must avoid stone pelting.

  9. Dr Saeed Elahi is not a credible personality and he is looked down upon by the voters of his own community. Many believe he rigged the elections. Since he already hails from opposition party, you can well imagine the kind of ‘credibility’ his latest claim about Asif Zardari purchasing a flat in London carried. There are a lot of political minions on both sides of political divide in Pakistan who want to be the part of newspaper headlines and TV talk shows.They often deliberately indulge in this non-sense just to catch public opinion. It is, I think, better to shake it off with a smile of unconcern; for the allegations found incorrect, it is neither wise nor decorous to make much moaning. These alleagations only show the meanness of the one who levels it.

  10. Asif Ali Zardari has been continuously under attack by his opponents,
    and for that sake they were spreading rumors to undermine his image
    internationally. Starting from Long March, when Army’s support seemed
    covert (though civilian bureaucracy’s was overt) to Kerry Lugar Bill
    then NRO and now rumors, it seems the design to undermine the
    reemergence of PPP to the helm of affairs in Pakistan through the
    Frankenstein of judiciary is well on its way. Enthusiasm is the best
    protection in any situation. Pakistani nation is enthusiastic and
    brave. The unnamed sources are being revealed against President
    Zardari. No doubt President Zardari is a very patient person. A
    malicious campaign against Zardari is underway to drag down his
    popularity. Despite President Zardari’s reasonable working, our media
    is not only not acknowledging his services, but also acting terribly
    hostile. The contradiction needs investigation. We admire his courage
    and tenacity in standing up to the odds stacked against him for a
    lifetime in prison for cases he was never convicted for. Any move
    against democratic government or President would be disastrous for
    country.

  11. Rumour mills have worked overtime over the last one year to weave
    conspiracy theories, set deadlines for governmental breakdown and
    predict a return to the era of palace intrigue and soft coups. Now
    this new Khan’s real estate rumors. It is a gigantic dilemma that in
    Pakistan anti-democratic powers have been continuously trying to
    destabilise democratic system. Rumour mills have just only left with
    unconvincing and false reports to launch conspiracy theories. Nobody
    would believe that Asif Zardari is the buyer of the flats without
    evidences. There should be no doubt that all properties in the UK have
    to be registered, so even if it is bought in the name of a company,
    the owner will be easily traceable. Why not wait until the
    registration is complete to say who the buyer is?

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