Home Pakistan Dubai Unlocked Probe Reveals Over $12 Billion Properties Owned By Pakistanis

Dubai Unlocked Probe Reveals Over $12 Billion Properties Owned By Pakistanis

Dubai Unlocked

Officially Pakistan is bankrupt, the government is dependent on IMF loans to keep things ticking over. But data put out by the US-based non-profit Center for Advanced Defense Studies and published by Dawn, has listed over 23,000 properties belonging to Pakistani nationals up to 2022.

Titled Dubai Unlocked, it paints a staggering picture of 22,000 Pakistani citizens listed as owners of those properties. These were valued at $10 billion two years ago but are now worth $12.5 billion if not more given the 25% increase in property prices in the emirate.

Dawn quoted the chairman of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Malik Amjed Tiwana as vowing that “With political will, we will go all out against tax evaders. The government is prepared for this,” and pointed the finger at the Dubai authorities.

“We have been trying to get information from the Immigration Department of Dubai to determine tax status but it has not materialized.”

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Shabbar Zaidi, former chairman of the FBR echoed that accusation, recalling that when he headed the department in 2019, “I asked my director of taxes to get details from Dubai authorities to identify which Pakistanis have Dubai Iqamas (residence visas).”

He says he was asked by an unidentified UAE diplomat not to pursue the matter. When he refused, the diplomat complained to then foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi who told him to forget it.  When Zaidi persisted, then prime minister Imran Khan reportedly told him “They just gave us $1 billion.”

He was referring to the bailout package of $3 billion pledged by the UAE to Pakistan in Jan. 2019. Dawn quotes Zaidi as saying that “Because of Pakistan’s bankruptcy and financial dependency on countries like the UAE, it cannot ask for this information.”

Result: Pakistan is not able to get any tax from the proceeds of such investments in Dubai.  The details in Dubai Unlocked underscore the fact that those who have invested in Dubai are Pakistan’s politically and economically powerful, who are answerable to no government agency or law for that matter.