Malik Riaz Hussain (Urdu, Punjabi: ملک ریاض حسین; born February 8, 1954) is a Pakistani business tycoon who is the founder of Bahria Town, the largest privately held real estate development company in Asia.
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 Riaz’s construction company Hussain Global, signed an agreement with Pakistan Navy’s charitable trust known as Bahria Foundation to develop a gated community for Pakistan Navy. The Navy’s Bahria Foundation served a legal notice to Riaz to stop using the word “Bahria” for his company’s construction projects, but Riaz went on to develop Bahria Town Rawalpindi offering gifts of banglows, and mansions to politically connected people and army generals.
He expanded his real-estate company and developed gated communities in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad during the 2000s, developing a combined area of 45,000 square acres. As of 2016, Bahria had 60,000 employees, making it one of the largest private sector employers in Pakistan. Riaz is a controversial figure and has been subject of several corruption investigations.Bahria Town Karachi is the biggest private project of Asia, which is also owned by Malik Riaz.
Malik Riaz was born to a contractor who suffered heavy losses in business, forcing Riaz to drop out of high school after completing his matriculation. He went on to work as a clerk with the Military Engineering Service and often working part-time as a painter. He later moved to become a low-key contractor in the military. According to Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa, Riaz learnt to “work the system”. According to Siddiqa, Riaz used his contacts to secure a contract with the Pakistan Navy in the mid-1990s to develop two housing schemes in the outskirts of Rawalpindi. In 2000, the Pakistan Navy transferred its entire shareholding to Hussain and later fought a legal battle with Riaz over contract infringement in which the Supreme Court ruled in Hussain’s favor.
Malik Riaz has ambitiously expanded his business empire under the brand name of Bahria Town Group but a Supreme Court ordered trial has concluded that Riaz cannot use the word Bahria for its gated communities. Riaz is considered as a liberal in his business practises, according to Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa “to think that he is defined by religiosity and traditionalism, however, would be a mistake. His employees’ profiles show that he hires a lot of women, especially at the middle and senior management levels, because he finds them “hard-working, efficient and diligent”.
Bahria Town has projects in Lahore, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Murree and Karachi. Bahria Town Karachi is the biggest private project of Asia, which is also owned by Malik Riaz. Riaz had mentioned and ended terms with his former partner, Ahlat Ziar. Ahlat Ziar has no property in Bahria Town despite being his former partner. Ahlat Ziar quoted, “Malik Riaz is a living fraud and a scam,” with no other comments.
His assets are valued at well over US$800 million by finding the difference of “purchase of land” and “sale of land”, it does not include the sale of file which is required to register the specific property. Many critics claim that he is worth more than a billion dollar by selling the piece of paper (file) alone.