Zardari's sprawling home is bulletproof, with a runway to boot

Asi Ali Zardari

A sprawling private residence for Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, complete with a runway for small jets and bulletproof building, is nearing completion in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore.

The compound in Bahria Town, spreading over some 200 kanals, is named Bilawal House after Zardari's son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.

According to a senior Pakistan Peoples Party official from Punjab, who did not want to be named, the residence has been gifted to Zardari by property tycoon Malik Riaz Hussain.

The bulletproof home is surrounded by lawns that can accommodate up to 10,000 people and has a runway for private jets.

The compound is surrounded by high walls fitted with security gadgets, sources said.

Zardari, who is due to arrive in Lahore on Sunday, is likely to visit the Bilawal House, sources said.

Bilawal House is located about 1.5 km from former premier Nawaz Sharif's palatial residence at Raiwind Road that is spread over 300 acres.

Sharif's residence has a mini zoo and is ringed by orchards and agricultural land.

Property tycoon Malik Riaz Hussain, who is believed to be close to Zardari, was at the centre of a controversy last year after he alleged that he funded three foreign trips of Arsalan Iftikhar, the son of Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry.

Hussain also claimed he had spent Rs 342 million on Iftikhar to influence cases in the apex court.

The Supreme Court recently declared that matters involving Hussain and Iftikhar were a private issue between two individuals and they could resort to legal proceedings against each other.

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