‘Mystery’ billionaire files single largest Amnesty declaration in Pakistan

08:41 PM | 28 Jun, 2018
‘Mystery’ billionaire files single largest Amnesty declaration in Pakistan

KARACHI – Habibullah Khan has recently declared liquid assets of $1.25 billion outside of Pakistan in the single largest Amnesty declaration in the South Asian country.

He is the Founder and Chairman of Mega Conglomerate – Mega & Forbes Group of Companies (Mega Group – MFG), a diversified conglomerate with business holdings including the country’s largest container terminal, the largest shipping and logistics businesses in the country, third largest dairy producer, top tier cement manufacturing company, vertically integrated shipping company and most progressive real-estate developer responsible for the only L.E.E.D. certified commercial building in Pakistan.

Khan’s declaration comes on the heels of a tax amnesty scheme announced through an Ordinance on April 10, 2018. Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Chairman Tariq Mahmood Pasha suggests businessmen who have kept their assets abroad or invested in real estate should legalise them through the amnesty scheme.

The last date of availing the scheme is June 30, 2018.

This scheme has blessings from all stakeholders of the state, as the country desperately needs foreign exchange. Official foreign currency reserves held by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) hover around the $10-billion mark, and sufficient to finance barely two months of imports.

Just last Friday, the FBR spokesman hoped that Pakistan attracts up to $4 billion through the amnesty scheme. But if the scheme is derailed, it could further complicate the government’s external sector problems.

Khan, the Karachi-based businessman, was recently dubbed as “the Howard Hughes of Pakistan” by Profit Today.

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Through over three decades of active patronage and participation in social and environmental welfare, he has also become strongly associated with various charitable causes; recently donating a building for visiting professors at the Institute of Business Administration in Karachi.

“I’m the largest private equity player in this market,” he told the publication in April, adding that three of his companies are among top 30 taxpayers.

His father, Asadullah Khan was Pakistan’s first gas engineer who helped create what today is Sui Gas.

Khan studied at Karachi Grammar School but moved to boarding school in England when his father left the country in 1972. After completing school, he went to Imperial College in London and was part of the first batch of computer engineers that graduated in 1979.

His next stop was the University of California in San Diego where he worked on the Columbia satellite as a computer engineer. Then he went to Berkeley to study management science and industrial engineering before returning to Pakistan.

Khan started off in software and then moved into first textile and then shipping in 1985. In 2000, his company had bought Qasim International Container Terminal (QICT).

He’s actively working to acquire a financial institution besides being a huge player in the energy sector, having recently acquired a significant stake in Hub Power (Hubco) from Dawood Hercules and become its chairman.