ISLAMABAD - A parliamentary committee on Tuesday directed the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to expedite its efforts for taking information regarding $8 billion that have been invested by Pakistani nationals in Dubai’s real estate during the past four years after UAE once again refused to share details.

A sub-committee of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance, chaired by Dr Shezra Mansab Ali Khan, yesterday started to review the issue of Pakistanis having invested $8 billion in UAE real estate without getting approval from the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP). The National Assembly standing committee on October 10, 2017, had constituted a sub-committee to review the matter after PTI’s MNA Asad Umar repeatedly raised the issue in the committee meetings.

The committee directed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to present its investigation reports regarding three Pakistanis invested in Dubai. Meanwhile, the committee also summoned the officials of Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Subcommittee member Asad Umar said that Pakistan had become the third largest real estate investors in Dubai, as Pakistanis invested $8 billion from 2013 till 2017. He further said that SBP had refused to grant any permission to any individual or company for the acquisition of property in the UAE or any other country. “The committee will review whether Pakistani nationals had transferred the money to purchase property through legal ways or illegal,” he added.

Umar said that media had reported that FIA had a list of Pakistanis invested in Dubai’s real estate. He asked the committee to summon the journalists in committee meeting to get information. However, the committee decided to call FIA’s officials first. An official of FIA said that they had investigated against three Pakistani nationals that invested in Dubai’s real estate. The FIA would share its investigation report with the committee in next meeting, he added.

FBR Chairman Tariq Pasha said that FBR had received the reply of UAE authorities through Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding provision of the list of Pakistanis having invested in the UAE release estate. However, they had not shared the details in this regard. The FBR had taken up the matter with UAE tax authorities time and again. The UAE authorities had been requested, both directly as well as through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he added.

The SBP official informed the committee that they did not grant permission to any individual or company for the acquisition of property in the UAE or any other country. The SBP was empowered to approve investments up to $5 million and exceeding $5 million limit approval of the ECC was required for moving ahead.

The officials of Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) informed that they would review the companies invested in real estate in Dubai. However, they could not investigate the investment made by an individual in any country.