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Pakistanis, including ex-government officials, political figures, bureaucrats, and sanctioned individuals own properties worth $11 billion in Dubai, a report stated on Tuesday.

‘Dubai Unlocked’, a global collaborative investigative journalism project, listed details of hundreds of thousands of properties in Dubai and information about their ownership or usage, largely from 2020 and 2022.

A non-profit organisation based in Washington, the Centre for Advanced Defence Studies (C4ADS) obtained the data that was later shared with Norwegian financial outlet E24 and the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP).

Getting off FATF grey list: Dubai’s already-thriving real estate sector set for boost

As per available details, the OCCRP coordinated a six-month investigative project with reporters from 74 media outlets in 58 countries. From Pakistan, The News and Dawn were partners.

The data includes 23,000 properties listed as belonging to 17,000 Pakistani nationals up to the spring of 2022.

President Asif Ali Zardari’s children, Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi’s wife, Sindh’s senior minister Sharjeel Inam Memon, Hussain Nawaz Sharif, Senator Faisal Vawda, Sher Afzal Marwat, Farah Gogi, and at least 6 member of provincial assemblies from Sindh and Balochistan are included in its list.

The list also features the late Gen Pervez Musharraf, former prime minister Shaukat Aziz, retired generals as well as a police chief, an ambassador, and a scientist. These owned properties either directly or through their spouses and children, as per the report.

Dubai’s high-end property sales rise on overseas demand

Mere mention in the data doesn’t prove any financial crime or tax fraud. As per Dawn, data doesn’t contain information such as residence status, sources of income, tax declarations of rental income or capital gains. Dawn said several of those approached by the media house for comment on their properties said they were declared to the tax authorities.

However, the issue in Pakistan raises eyebrows as capital flight is a problem for the ailing economy that has to rely on external debt to shore up its foreign exchange reserves.

Earlier this year, an emirate-based property consultancy, Better Homes reported that Pakistanis were among top 10 buyers of Dubai property in 2023.

As per Better Homes, Indians emerged as the top buyers of Dubai real estate in 2023, while Pakistanis were placed seventh and also surpassed purchases from 2022.

The interest of Pakistanis in Dubai’s real estate has also pivoted a tad from buying properties for investment purposes to looking to relocate in the city, an official at renowned developer DAMAC Properties told Business Recorder last year, even as the emirate’s red-hot housing market attracts an assortment of clients rushing to clinch a home in one of the world’s most “super stable” cities.

“Dubai has always been an attractive place for Pakistanis to invest because it’s very close and super stable, unlike Pakistan,” the official had said.

In 2022, Huspy, the Dubai-based proptech startup, said that it has Pakistan’s buyers and investors on its radar as it doubles down on the growth opportunity for its property platform.

“Pakistanis have been among the top 10 nationalities of home-buyers in Dubai for a number of years. They, in fact, own over $10 billion worth of properties in Dubai,” Azzam Fakhoury, Head of Real Estate at Huspy, told Business Recorder then.

Rupee depreciation, strict capital controls, and general deterioration of Pakistan’s economy are reasons prompting many individuals to seek investment opportunities elsehwere with Dubai being a natural destination for capital deployment.

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KU May 14, 2024 10:35pm
The only mettle we prove again and again is that politicians and Raj get rich while Pakistan is bankrupt, and shall remain so. The wealth is certainly beyond means of any business they claim to have.
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Builder May 14, 2024 11:31pm
Not just politicians and raj but mafias, traders, smugglers - all corrupt and tax evaders invest their hard earned money abroad. How convenient!
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Az_Iz May 14, 2024 11:38pm
Who knows how much more wealth is stacked away in other places.
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PedaBabu May 15, 2024 04:56am
Hi Guys. Do you have details of our Indians? I don't think our media will spit out the names like you have done.
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Usman May 15, 2024 07:46am
Whats wrong with having properties in dubai.we are born and brought up here in duabi.My family has 11 properties alone.make Pak safe and you will see investments there too till than dubai .
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Adeel May 18, 2024 01:39pm
Vision sy ari leadership, previllage class of Pakistan bringing country in deep crises.ek aysa mulk ha Jo ba simt chal raha ha...
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mahboob elahi May 19, 2024 04:53pm
THIS is all known facts but the VOTERS are helpless and TAX group hopeless.....the ELITE can turn whisky into HONEY...they are capable of MIRACLES from last 75 years
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