Pakistan: Ex-City Official Arrested for Fixing Parks that Don’t Exist

Pakistani authorities arrested last week the former head of Karachi’s parks and horticulture, who is suspected of having embezzled Rs 1 billion (US$6.4 million) through fake companies he had established to repair 71 non-existent parks over the past two decades.

Aziz Bhatti Park Karachi Pakistan 02Aziz Bhatti Park, Karachi, Pakistan (Photo: Adnanrail, CC BY-SA 3.0)Liaquat Ali Qaimkhani was adviser to Karachi’s mayor and director general of parks and horticulture at the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation in the city.

“A cache of wealth and assets including eight luxury vehicles, two kilograms of gold ornaments, cash, property records, foreign currency, antiques and diamonds were recovered from his palace-like house,” Nawazish Ali, spokesman for The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) told OCCRP. 

Authorities found many of the items hidden in a secret basement in Qaimkhani’s huge house, which features a swimming pool, sprawling lawns and remote-controlled gates and doors. 

Qaimkhani claims he comes from a rich family and that he has done nothing wrong. 

Corruption in Pakistan is rampant and the country is listed as one of the most corrupt in the world. Transparency International’s 2018 Corruption Perception Index ranks it 117 out of 180 countries.