Ishaq Dar is highly regarded for his financial expertise and has twice served as federal minister for finance, economic affairs, revenue and statistics. Considered a PML-N stalwart, he has headed the party’s international affairs office since 2002. Apart from being elected an MNA thrice, Dar has been elected Senator three times along with being appointed as PML-N’s parliamentary leader in the upper house each time.
In February 2014 in Dubai on an official visit as Finance Minister of Pakistan again, he said “We inherited three bad ‘Es’ — bad economy, energy and extremism — from the previous government but we have managed to control the situation within seven months since we took over last year.”
He announced that Pakistan was open for business once again but it seems more likely he was expanding his own business. Surreptitiously, on the sidelines, Ishaq Dar has built himself a business empire, reportedly managed by his two sons Hasnain Dar and Ali Dar. HDS Tower in Cluster F of Jumeirah Lakes Tower is only one of the 34 story buildings that belong to the mighty HDS Group. Several other buildings in Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Business Bay and International City, like the HDS Sunstar Towers, are also owned by the millionaire brothers.
The owners of HDS Group, Ali Dar and Hasnain Dar manage everything perfectly for Ishaq Dar. It’s worth mentioning here that the elder son Ali Dar is also the son-in-law of Mian Nawaz Sharif. Real estate business and development is the main concentration of the HDS group, moreover owning various commercial and residential towers in JLT, Business Bay and Central Business District of International City in Dubai.
The HDS Group flagship project has 2 million sq feet built up area and is currently under construction in the Burj Khalifa area, this project alone is a millions of dirhams worth. Such projects make this group one of the foremost property developers in UAE. The group even survived the economic downfall of 2008 .
Reportedly, Bahria Town Dubai office is located at the top floor of JLT Business Towers owned by HDS. It is rumored that some space has also been kept free for a future office for Asif Ali Zardari, ex President of Pakistan. Recently, Ishaq Dar introduced his sons to the ruling family and top authorities of UAE for propagation of future business interests on an official visit there.
Here is a list of the main assets owned by HDS Group:
1.HDS Tower, a 39 storey commercial and retail tower located in the F cluster of Jumeirah Lakes Towers was constructed in 2008, the tower consists of small, medium and large apartments and offices. Its monetary worth is billions of dirhams.
2.HDS Business Centre, it was completed in 2011, its grand lobby is its main highlight and is one of the finest in Jumeirah Lakes Towers, it is beautifully designed with the best granite and marble finishes and its current market value is billions of dirhams.
3.HDS Sunstar 1 and 2 is a 10 storey residential building in the central business district of International City, Dubai.Luxury rooftop swimming pools and gymnasium assured rental of the 120 apartments within a month of its completion, this project is also priced at billions of dollars.
4.Sobha Ivory 1 and 2 is in the heart of Business Bay, UAE s prime business location. This property has easy access from Sheikh Zayed Road and is one of the most wanted business addresses in Dubai.
5.Take a Break is a semi serviced coffee shop on the ground floor of HDS Tower in Jumeirah Lakes Towers launched in December 2011.
6.HDS Mini Golf was launced in the end of 2013, the chief guest was H.E .Ahmed bin Sulayman. It is an entertainment hotspot located at Lake Level of HDS Business Tower in cluster M of Jumeirah Lakes Towers.
7.HDS Owners Association Management Company is a licensed facilities management company.
8.HDS Rent a Car is one of the first rent a car companies in the Middle East to launch the exotic Lamborghini Avebtador LP 700 and the 2013 Mercedes Benz G63 in the rent a car industry .They also provide the finest Rolls Royce Phantom, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Bentley, May Bech, ,Mercedes Benz and BMW. The uniqueness of the car rental company lies in its array of niche car manufacturers and models of cars unavailable to the market. HDS Rent a Car owns the 2012 Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4, Mercedes Benz SLS 63 AMG Gullwing, apart from the more economy cars such as Peugeots and Renaults. Some of the many exotic, luxury and SUVs in the lineup are the the Ferrari Berlinetta F12 and the McLaren F1.
The owners are offering such exotic services in Dubai, which even the local Emiratis fail to afford. Ishaq Dar made hundreds of real estate transactions with Madhu Bhindari, an Indian billionaire entrepreneur, who is on a run from Dubai, after losing 150 million dirhams in the 2008 crisis. However, the finance minister’s buildings and investments are still earning him a hefty income.
A Pakistani real estate agent related how a lot of Pakistani bureaucrats and politicians have properties worth millions in Dubai. “The son of a serving government officer from Sindh government invested a huge amount of money in real estate here in 2008, and I carried out transactions for him,” the agent claimed.
“Where are these politicians getting the money from?” asked a Pakistani in Dubai, who came to know that the building he lived in is owned by Ali and Hasnain Dar’s HDS Group.
“If they have billions of dollars and so much money, why is it not in Pakistan?
These politicians talk about the welfare of Pakistani people, but all they can think about is themselves!”
Director Swiss Bank had stated some years back that Pakistan has around 97 billion dollars only in Swiss Banks. But the reality is that Pakistani politicians and businessmen have much more than 97 billion dollars outside Swiss Banks, invested in various countries and financial centres like Dubai. According to the Swiss Bank director, if the money is spent on Pakistan and its people, then Pakistan could have a tax free budget for next 30 years, it could create 60 million jobs, could carpet four lanes road from any village to Islamabad, provide endless power supply, every citizen could get a Rs. 20,000 salary for the next 60 years and there would be no need to take loans from IMF or the World Bank.
By: Sabena Siddiqi