Property leaks expose vast holdings of Pakistani elite in Dubai – TheNewsMill

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In a groundbreaking revelation, a global collaborative investigative journalism project dubbed ‘Dubai Unlocked’ has uncovered the extensive property holdings of the global elite in Dubai. Among those implicated are prominent figures from Pakistan, with a combined property value estimated at a staggering USD 11 billion, Geo News reported.
The project, spearheaded by the Centre for Advanced Defence Studies (C4ADS) and supported by 74 media outlets across 58 countries, has shed light on the ownership of hundreds of thousands of properties in Dubai by political figures, globally sanctioned individuals, alleged money launderers, and criminals.
The data, obtained largely from 2020 and 2022, provides a detailed overview of residential properties owned by individuals, excluding those held by companies or located in commercial areas. Norwegian financial outlet E24 and the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) were key partners in this comprehensive six-month investigation, as reported by Geo News.
Among the notable Pakistani figures identified in the ‘Property Leaks’ are President Asif Ali Zardari’s children, Hussain Nawaz Sharif, and several other political figures and their family members. The list also includes retired generals, business magnates, and individuals facing sanctions for various illicit activities.
One striking revelation involves President Zardari, who reportedly received a foreign property as a gift in 2014, later transferring it to his daughter. This transaction was previously undisclosed until the Property Leaks data brought it to light.
Furthermore, individuals associated with controversial networks, such as the Altaf Khanani network involved in money laundering, have also been identified as property owners in Dubai. Despite facing sanctions, members of these networks continue to hold significant assets in the region.
The investigation also uncovered instances of non-disclosure by public officials. For instance, Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi’s wife was found to own a villa in Dubai, which was not declared in his nomination papers for the Senate election earlier this year. This revelation raises questions about transparency and accountability among Pakistan’s political elite.
The data reveals a staggering disparity in property ownership, with Indian nationals leading the pack with 35,000 properties valued at USD 17 billion. Pakistani nationals rank second, with 17,000 owners holding 23,000 residential properties worth USD 11 billion. This concentration of wealth underscores the significant influence wielded by South Asian elites in Dubai’s real estate market, according to Geo News.
Economists and reporters analyzing the data have highlighted the average value per Pakistani property owner at USD 0.41 million, reflecting the immense wealth amassed by a select few. The total value of properties owned by Pakistanis amounts to a staggering USD 11 billion, contributing significantly to Dubai’s thriving real estate sector.
The ‘Property Leaks’ data provides crucial insights into the opaque world of foreign property ownership in Dubai. Journalists meticulously verified the identities of property owners and their ownership status, using official records and open-source research to ensure accuracy and reliability.
In the pursuit of public interest, reporters have focused on individuals with ties to criminal activities, corruption allegations, or sanctions. The project aims to promote transparency and accountability, holding accountable those who have concealed their assets or engaged in illicit financial practices.
Dubai’s official land registry served as a critical resource in confirming property ownership, allowing journalists to track changes in ownership status over time. Despite challenges in confirming current ownership status, diligent investigative efforts have provided valuable insights into the extent of foreign ownership in Dubai’s real estate market, Geo News reported.

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