Pakistani President amongst richest heads of state


LAHORE: Pakistani President Asif Zardari is the 10th richest sitting head of state on the planet today, who is believed to be possessing a net wealth of $1.8 billions.

According to Pakistani media reports, this conclusion can be drawn keeping in view the US magazine Forbes’ 2009 list of wealthiest 793 billionaires across the globe [with its list of 15 Richest Royals]and taking into account the Pakistani National Accountability Bureau (NAB)’s report presented recently before the Supreme Court of Pakistan. Heading a nation which is ranked 141st on the Human Development Report 2009 in terms of human and income poverty, President Zardari with $1.8 billion stacked in his wallet is only poorer than eight monarchs and the three-time Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, according to a report compiled by taking into account the 2009 net wealth estimates of the internationally-acclaimed US magazine Forbes and the numbers given by the NAB before Pakistan’s apex court. But surprisingly, the Forbes magazine has not included Zardari in its 2009 list of 793 billionaires due to unknown reasons, though it could not have acknowledged him by placing him in the category of Richest Royals.

However, the Presidency in Islamabad and the federal government have vehemently rejected reports about Zardari’s assets, saying “these are no more than regurgitation of decade-old unproven politically motivated allegations”. The government circles say none of the charges could be proved against him and his martyred spouse during the last one year despite all types of court trials. According to the US magazine, the Italian premier, Silvio Berlusconi, with net worth of $ 6.5 billion, is ranked 70 in the Forbes magazine’s list of the top 793 billionaires though. Hence combining the US magazine Forbes’ 2009 list of 793 billionaires across the globe with its list of 15 Richest Royals and then reading the same together with NAB estimates about the Pakistani president’s wealth to ascertain his ranking among the wealthiest state heads, one finds that King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand has topped the list of Richest Royals/Richest Heads of State with net worth of $ 30 billion, the Sultan of Brunei Haji Hassan-al Bolkiah is second with $ 20 billion, the UAE Emir Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan is third with $ 18 billion, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is fourth with $17 billion and the UAE Prime Minister and ruler of Dubai Sheikh Muhammad bin Rashid is fifth with $ 12 billion.

Similarly, the longest-serving leader of any G-8 country and the incumbent Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi with $ 6.5 billion (down from $ 9.4 billion last year) should be the sixth in the list of the richest heads of state, as his net worth is acknowledged by Forbes in its annual ranking list of the 793 richest billionaires this year. Meanwhile, the Prince of Liechtenstein Prince Hans-Adam II is Seventh with $ 3.5 billion, King Muhammad VI of Morocco with $ 2.5 billion is eighth, the Emir of Qatar Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani with $ 2 billion is ninth and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari with net worth of $ 1.8 billion stands at the 10th position.

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