Ex-govt officials, bankers, bureaucrats own properties in upscale Dubai areas: report

OCCRP’s Dubai Unlocked project reveals ownership of properties of global elite in Dubai

By
Fakhar Durrani
 A general view of residential skyscrapers and a beach in Dubai, United Arab Emirates March 11, 2021. — Reuters

  • Thousands of Pakistani elite among owners of Dubai properties.
  • Most prominent among retired military generals is Gen Musharraf.
  • Two retired air vice-marshals, serving IGP and others feature in list.


ISLAMABAD: More than a dozen retired military officials and their families, as well as bankers and bureaucrats, own properties in upscale Dubai areas, according to data revealed by the OCCRP’s Dubai Unlocked project.

Among the thousands of Pakistanis who own these properties are around a dozen retired military generals, two retired air vice-marshals of the Pakistan Air Force, a serving inspector general of police (IGP), a retired president of the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP), a former chairman of the Oil and Gas Development Company (OGDCL), and a serving chairman of the Pakistan Council for Science and Technology.

The most prominent among retired military generals is the name of former (and late) military dictator Gen (r) Pervez Musharraf. The former military dictator and his wife’s name appear in the leaked data as the owners of three properties in the areas of Dubai Marina, Burj Khalifa and Al Thanyah Fifth.

Musharraf’s former military secretary Lt-Gen Shafaat Ullah Shah is also included in the leaked data, which covers the period 2020-2022. His name had also appeared in the Pandora Papers. 

Shafaat’s son appears to be a co-owner of the same property, per the leaked data. Gen Shafaat in his response to the OCCRP confirmed owning the property and said all his foreign properties are declared with the tax authorities in Pakistan.

Former DG-C during Gen (r) Musharraf’s era, Maj Gen (r) Ehtasham Zameer, his son and other children are also on the list as owners of properties in the Al Warsan First, Marina Arcade Marsa areas.

Also on the list is the son of Lt-Gen Afzal Muzaffar of the NLC scandal fame, and former DG Counter Intelligence Major Gen Ehtasham Zamir and his children.

IGP Azad Jammu and Kashmir Dr Sohail Habib Tajik is also on the list for owning property in Al Dafrah First Al Thanyah Third. 

Dr Tajik Sohail Habib has confirmed owning the property and said that he bought it in 2002 while he was "working in the UN. My salary was $10,000. I transferred the money from UN Bank to Dubai as a legal transaction and declared it in my assets and proudly say that everywhere.”

Former president of the NBP Arif Usmani also features on the list as the owner of a penthouse.

Another Lt-Gen (r) Muhammad Akram owns a property in Elite Residences 4. In addition, Lt-Gen Alam Jan Mehsud and his spouse own a five-bedroom apartment in the Al Hamri Palm Jumeirah area.

The leaked data shows that Maj Gen (r) Ghazanfar Ali Khan also owns a property in S15 Building Al Warsan First. Major Gen (r) Raja Muhammad Arif Nazir also appears in the leaked data for owning a property in Golf Promenade 2-A, Al Hebiah third area.

Meanwhile, Air Vice Marshal (r) Saleem Tariq also appears to own property as does Air Vice Marshal (r) Khalid Masood Rajput.

Also included in the list are Major Gen (r) Muhammad Farooq, Major Gen (r) Anis Bajwa’s spouse, and Maj Gen (r) Najam-ul-Hassan Shah.

Former chairman of OGDCL Zahid Muzaffar and chairman PCST Syed Anwar-ul Hassan Gillani are also listed as property owners.

The Dubai Unlocked data was obtained by the Centre for Advanced Defence Studies (C4ADS), a non-profit organisation based in Washington, DC. It was then shared with Norwegian financial outlet E24 and the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), which coordinated a six-month investigative project with reporters from 74 media outlets in 58 countries, uncovering scores of convicted criminals, fugitives, and political figures who have recently owned at least one piece of real estate in Dubai.