Dubai (Agencies): Amid a financial crisis, Pakistan’s affluent citizens own between 17,000 to 22,000 properties in Dubai, worth an estimated USD 12.5 billion, according to leaked data used by an international consortium of journalists. The data, largely from 2020 and 2022, provides a detailed overview of hundreds of thousands of properties in Dubai and information about their ownership or usage.

The data was obtained by the Centre for Advanced Defence Studies (C4ADS), a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., that researches international crime and conflict. It was then shared with Norwegian financial outlet E24 and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), which coordinated an investigative project titled ‘Dubai Unlocked’ with media outlets from around the world.

The website reported that the details of an astounding volume of leaked property data, including over 17,000 properties listed as belonging to Pakistani nationals up to the spring of 2022, were known to journalists from scores of media outlets around the world. Academics using the data and additional sources estimate the actual number of Pakistani owners of residential property in Dubai at 22,000.

The apartments and villas may have been worth more than USD 10 billion at the start of 2022. However, with the more than 25 per cent increase in property prices over the last two years, the real worth of Pakistanis’ residential properties in Dubai could now be well above USD 12.5 billion.

Malik Amjed Zubair Tiwana, chairman of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), stated, “If we have the data you are talking about, as well as the information on residence status, we will make sure those who are eligible to pay tax in Pakistan on rental income or capital value are doing so.” He added that “citizenship has no importance in tax law” as taxation is linked to residence status. The government is prepared to go all out against tax evaders, even if it means changing the law. However, efforts to get information from the immigration department of Dubai to determine tax status have not yet materialised.

By Media

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