Home » Pakistanis own 23,000 properties worth $11 billion in Dubai, reveal property leaks

Pakistanis own 23,000 properties worth $11 billion in Dubai, reveal property leaks

by Haroon Amin
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According to data released by the OCCRP’s Dubai Unlocked project, a number of well-known Pakistanis, including politicians, bankers, bureaucrats, and former military personnel, are the owners of opulent residences in Dubai, as revealed by the most recent property leaks. It is estimated that Pakistanis own properties valued at approximately $11 billion in total.

The initiative, Dubai Unlocked, is predicated on data, mostly from 2020 and 2022, that offers a comprehensive overview of hundreds of thousands of properties in Dubai as well as details about their ownership or use. This analysis does not include properties that are in commercial districts or that are purchased under corporate names.

A non-profit company with headquarters in Washington, DC, the Centre for Advanced Defence Studies (C4ADS), received the data. It was subsequently shared with the Norwegian financial publication E24 and the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), which oversaw a six-month investigative project involving reporters from 74 media outlets in 58 countries. Through this project, numerous political figures, fugitives, and convicted criminals were found to have owned at least one piece of real estate in Dubai. Pakistani partners included Dawn and The News.

Read more: Pakistani Investors Set Up 3,395 New Companies In Dubai In 1St Half Of 2023

President Asif Ali Zardari’s three children, Hussain Nawaz Sharif, the wife and family of Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi, Senator Faisal Vawda, Farah Gogi, Sher Afzal Marwat, four MNAs, and six MPAs from the Sindh and Balochistan assemblies are among the Pakistanis named in the Property Leaks.

Along with the late General Pervez Musharraf, the late Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, and over a dozen other retired generals, the Pakistani list also included a police chief, an ambassador, and a scientist, all of whom had property either directly or indirectly through their spouses and kids.

President Asif Ali Zardari received a gift of overseas property in 2014. He had given it to someone by the time he announced it in 2018.

Aslam Masood, the Chief Financial Officer of Omni Group, and his spouse are also identified in the data as stated owners of many homes. When The News looked up the valuation of one of them, it revealed that it was bought in March 2013 for AED 1,060,626 (around Rs 80 million).

There is also mention of the Altaf Khanani network on the list, which the US sanctioned because to its connections to money laundering. Listed owners of multiple homes in Dubai are his brother, nephew, son, and daughter. Sanctions are being applied to three of them. An additional prominent figure is Hamid Mukhtar Shah, a doctor from Rawalpindi who was blacklisted by the US for his role in the abduction, imprisonment, and kidney excision of Pakistani workers. Countless properties are registered under his name.

Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi’s wife possesses a property in Dubai, which he neglected to include in his nomination papers for the Senate election submitted in March of this year, according to the Property Leaks.

Naqvi’s wife possesses a five-bedroom villa in the Arabian Ranches, according to data from Property Leaks. The News was able to obtain a record of her rental revenue from this villa, which she bought in August 2017 for AED4,347,888 (Rs329m), totaling AED600,000 (Rs45m). She owned the villa until April 2023, when it was recorded as sold for AED4,550,000 (Rs344m).

A lot of people own properties overseas because they have worked there or because they paid taxes on their earnings to purchase those assets. Owning property outside of Pakistan is not inherently illegal. The legality of the situation will be determined by the tax authorities in each country.

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