Pakistan probes its citizens holding properties in UAE



By Nasir Aijaz
AsiaN Correspondent

Islamabad: Pakistan’s top tax regulator has sought details from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) authorities of thousands of Pakistani nationals who have acquired “Iqama” (residential/work permit).

In a letter to the UAE Ministry of Finance, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) said it was seeking data of those “who may have siphoned off funds illegally from Pakistan, invested them in the UAE and are now hiding behind Iqama-based residential status”.

In the letter, the FBR’s directorate of internal taxes said information already received from the UAE was “not very substantial” as details of only 3,620 accounts were reported and “the number of material accounts with substantial balance is negligible”.

“This is not only contrary to our expectations, but also insignificant in comparison with Pakistan’s other exchange partners,” the FBR wrote in the letter.

“The internal deliberations on the matter indicate that it might be due to the UAE’s domestic laws which allow foreign nationals to obtain residence/Iqama on the basis of investment beyond a certain threshold. This may be pointed out that we have absolutely no problem with the Pakistani nationals investing and doing business in the UAE legally with lawfully remitted funds,” it added.

The FBR team is expected to visit the UAE in first week of September to take up the issue of those Pakistanis who have acquired UAE Iqamas in the last ten years in an effort to fetch maximum details of their accounts and properties in the UAE.

The move is a part of special drive launched by the FBR in light of a Supreme Court’s order, soon after a startling revelation by media that 7,000 super-rich Pakistanis had acquired properties in UAE by violating national laws in the past eight years.

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