• Wednesday, May 29, 2024

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Pakistanis own £10 billion-worth of properties in Dubai, report shows

While 17,000 Pakistani citizens are listed owners in the 2022 leak, academics using the data and additional sources put an actual number of Pakistani owners of residential property in (Representative image: iStock)

By: Vibhuti Pathak

An investigation into property ownership in Dubai has uncovered that approximately 22,000 Pakistani citizens own properties valued at around £9.93 billion. This information comes from a report titled ‘Dubai Unlocked,’ which was based on data leaked in 2022 and analyzed by the Centre for Advanced Defence Studies (C4ADS), a non-profit organization based in Washington DC. The data was shared with Norwegian financial outlet E24 and the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), which coordinated the investigation with media outlets globally.

The leaked data initially identified 17,000 Pakistani property owners in Dubai, but further analysis by academics using additional sources suggested the number could be as high as 22,000. The value of these properties, estimated at £7.9 billion at the beginning of 2022, has increased significantly due to a 25% rise in property prices over the past two years, bringing the total to nearly £10 billion.

The list of property owners includes several prominent figures such as the late former dictator Pervez Musharraf, his wife, and his former military secretary Lt-Gen Shafaat Ullah Shah. Other notable names are President Asif Ali Zardari’s children, Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi’s wife, Shajeel Memon, Senator Faisal Vawda, Fara Gogi, Sher Afzal Marwat, and various members of the National and Provincial Assemblies.

The report also pointed out that simply being named in the data does not imply any illegal activity. The data does not provide details on the residency status, income sources, or tax

declarations of the individuals mentioned. Several individuals, including those associated with PPP and PTI, have claimed their properties were properly declared to tax authorities.

“All the national and international assets of Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and Bibi Aseefa Bhutto-Zardaru have already been declared in the Election Commission of Pakistan and with the FBR,” said Bilawal’s spokesperson Zulfikar Ali Bader. Similarly, PTI leader Sher Afzal Marwat confirmed his property in Dubai was declared with the relevant authorities for the past six years.

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