ISLAMABAD: Pakistani property developer Malik Riaz Hussain, a flamboyant tycoon who boasts of connections with top military brass and senior politicians, plans to move into media to protect himself from those who accuse him of wrongdoing.
Hussain is one of the country’s richest and most powerful businessmen, a billionaire who has been caught up in corruption investigations and who is also well known for upmarket gated housing communities and charitable activities.
Now the 66-year-old wants to build a media empire, which he hopes he can use to promote his own commercial interests and fend off those trying to tarnish his name.
“I will go into media very soon. I will launch many TV channels, not one,” Hussain told Reuters in a rare interview earlier this month at his Bahria Town housing development, just outside the capital Islamabad.
“To stop blackmailers, I have decided that there is no way but to go into media.”
A world away from the chaotic, dirty streets of most Pakistani towns and cities, Bahria Town features giant replicas of the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty.
The roads are clean and smooth, grass is imported from Thailand and private guards provide round-the-clock security.
Bahria Town is larger than the capital itself, and is part of a property portfolio that includes more than 40,000 acres of developments across the country and pays salaries to 60,000 employees.