Malik Riaz: From rags to riches

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Real estate tycoon, Malik Riaz Hussain, is a real life example of rags to riches.

Malik Riaz Hussain born on February 8, 1954, in Sialkot is a Pakistani businessperson and billionaire. He is the founder and chairman of Bahria Town, the largest privately held real estate development company in Asia. Malik Riaz is currently the 7th richest person in Pakistan, with an estimated wealth of over a billion US$. He is one of Pakistan’s most prominent philanthropists.

Malik was Born into a wealthy family which went bankrupt during his adolescence. Riaz started his career as a clerk with a construction company in Rawalpindi. 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, but Riaz went on to develop Bahria Town Rawalpindi.

He expanded his real-estate company and developed gated communities in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, and Murree during the 2000s, developing a combined area of 45,000 square acres. As of 2016, Bahria has 60,000 employees, making it one of the largest private sector employers in Pakistan. Bahria Town Karachi is the biggest private project of Asia, which is also owned by Malik Riaz. Malik Riaz has ambitiously expanded his business empire under the brand name of Bahria Town Group. Riaz is considered as a liberal in his business practices. Malik Riaz Hussain is a known for a corporate head and a philanthropist.

The pioneering action came after Malik Riaz recommended a series of initiatives as part of the company’s new program on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Direct employment for 21,000 people and 100,000 families Livelihoods for over 1 Million families through associated employment. He runs Hospitals, Schools, Recreational Facilities, Security, Civic Amenities / Utilities, Emergency Services, Secure Gated Communities. Committed to bridging the annual deficit of 700,000 houses by providing housing solutions starting from Rs. 3.5 Lakhs, catering to all socioeconomic classes. Malik Riaz through Dastarkhwan provides two meals a day for the poor is a small contribution but, even small contributions can make a big difference. An unprecedented initiative providing free meals, twice a day, to more than 35,000 people throughout Pakistan. Opening 12 more Dastarkhwans in addition to 6 already operational outlets. Overall spending of PKR 30 million rupees on providing 10,500,000 meals annually.

As a Philanthropist, He’s built hospitals in Lahore, Rawalpindi, and Islamabad which provide dialysis treatment, kidney transplants and all other medical treatment free of charge.

“If my people are out of food, out of houses, I cannot sleep.” These are the words of multi-billionaire business tycoon Malik Riaz who is also one of the most eminent philanthropic personalities in the country. Besides being the founder of Bahria Town, Asia’s largest private real estate development, he is also a visionary social personality, who strongly believes in social welfare to be the core essence of his projects. He is always seen at the forefront of helping the nation in times of natural calamities, unfortunate incidents, and social challenges.

It is his heart of gold for the poor and the less privileged that he has devoted an entire department and has involved a large number of people directly from his company, for charitable and social projects. Making profit for him is not enough, the greatest responsibility is to support the society and its people and to share with them the bounties which only the elite class enjoys. His unfailing charity and his vision to maintain an economic balance and harmony in the society has won him praise and recognition on various national and international forums besides the great rewards of the Hereafter.

Malik Riaz has always rushed to save the lives and provide relief to less fortunate poor people in face of “Disaster Management Relief Efforts” targeted to assist those in dire need of help by providing them financial, medical and food respite. He rises up as an inspiring, humble and extremely generous person, every time the nation is struck by a disaster, earthquake, flood or any other tragedy. He is ever committed to spending a significant portion of his fortune on rebuilding the lives of millions caught up in miserable situations and restoring them back to their normal lives. Moreover, he has also extended human resource and logistical support to the government and many international NGO’s on various occasions.

Mutual prosperity is the driving force of Malik Riaz personality and he is always willing to contribute more and more to social welfare through his various initiatives such as Dastarkhwanas which serves free meals twice a day to 150,000 people, free health care, and free educational projects. He feels deeply grieved by the fact that 60 million people live below poverty line in Pakistan and hence has set up a fund is known as “Fund For The Pakistani Common Man” that include free food centers, free education, clean water, health and sanitation and also skill enhancement with basic training centers to prepare the poor to find employment. He believes such elaborate schemes to be only the first step in the long journey towards eternal peace and prosperity. Malik Riaz has gone beyond the horizons of generosity and has set up unprecedented standards in corporate social responsibility. He has made a huge effort to bridge gaps of inequality in the society through his letter to the 100 of Pakistan’s most wealthy and powerful people, who are indifferent to social economic tension in the country. He tried to warn them of the imminent consequences of continued ignorance of the plight of the poor. In this letter, he urged them to pool money into a mutual fund that will repair homes, provide vocational training and extend microfinance loans to impoverished people.

Moreover, he also stressed the need for developing a platform to provide sustainable employment to those who are unable to earn bread and butter for their families. He did his share in this regard by creating direct and indirect employment for more than 21,000 workers and has created business opportunities for over 1000 local suppliers. Investments have also been boosted and immense foreign exchange has been earned from overseas Pakistanis through his efforts.

Religious beliefs are firmly rooted in Malik Riaz’s personality and he aspires that his actions should truly reflect his gratitude towards Allah Almighty. He strongly desires that each one of us should follow the example of Hazrat Umer Farooq who stopped having honey and meat in extreme conditions. He is adamant to support the common and the deprived sectors of society and inquiries relentlessly “Why can’t we share our honey and meat with the country’s poor?”

Mr. Hussain persistent efforts for social welfare and poverty alleviation are a source of continuous inspiration and encouragement for many with the power to affect and change. He aims to build the future by changing the vision of modern Pakistan into reality. He is proud to be a part of this great nation and is determined to contribute more and more towards its economic and social development in the months and years to come.

In 2013, Riaz paid the Rs 130 million ransom to free seven Pakistani crewmembers aboard the MV Albedo, which had been hijacked by Somali pirates. In March, Riaz pledged Rs 200 million for the drought-stricken people of Tharparkar in Sindh, saying, rather hyperbolically, that he’d even spend his entire fortune of billions if the people needed it.

Biography Brief

Born                      February 8, 1954 (age 64)

Residence           Karachi, Pakistan

Nationality          Pakistani

Citizenship          Pakistan

Occupation         Real Estate Developer

Net worth           $1.5 billion (2017)

Spouse(s)            Beena Riaz

Children               Ahmed Ali Riaz Malik

Published in Melange Int. Magazine in July 2018.