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Monday June 17, 2024

‘Details of Bilawal and Aseefa’s Dubai assets already public’

Details of the assets owned by Bilawal and Aseefa were also available on ECP’s website, spox says

By Web Desk
May 14, 2024
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari attends a meeting with his Russian counterpart in Moscow on January 30, 2023. — AFP
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari attends a meeting with his Russian counterpart in Moscow on January 30, 2023. — AFP

All the domestic and foreign assets owned by PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and his sister, Aseefa Bhutto-Zardari, have already been declared before the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), a spokesperson.

Zulfiqar Ali Badr, the spokesperson, while responding to the bombshell Dubai leaks report said: “The entire world knows that Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and Aseefa Bibi grew up in exile.”

His remarks came as a global collaborative investigative journalism project has revealed the ownership of properties of the global elite in Dubai.

The list includes political figures, globally sanctioned individuals, alleged money launderers and criminals. Pakistanis have also been identified on the list and their combined value has been estimated at around $11 billion.

During her exile, former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, along with her children, lived in the Dubai properties, the spokesperson said, adding that after her assassination, her children inherited the properties.

Details of the assets owned by Bilawal and Aseefa were also available on the ECP’s website, the spokesperson added.

“Details of Bilawal and Aseefa’s Dubai assets are already public.” He said: “There is nothing new in the story. Nothing is illegal. Apparently, it is a story but not a scandal. Any action based on malice will be challenged on the relevant forums.”

For his part, Sindh's Senior Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon said: “My assets are already declared and in public’s knowledge.”

The minister said that the assets details already submitted to the ECP and the tax officials were being reported now to “create sensation”.

“The properties mentioned in the story have already been declared before the ECP and the concerned tax authorities.”

He further said that he submits the assets’ details to the authorities every year.

It is pertinent to mention here that among the Pakistanis listed in the property leaks are President Asif Ali Zardari’s three children, Hussain Nawaz Sharif, Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi’s wife, Sharjeel Memon and family members, Senator Faisal Vawda, Farah Gogi, Sher Afzal Marwat, four MNAs and half a dozen MPAs from the Sindh and Balochistan assemblies.

The Pakistani list also features the late Gen Pervez Musharraf, former prime minister Shaukat Aziz and more than a dozen retired generals as well as a police chief, an ambassador and a scientist – all of whom owned properties either directly or through their spouses and children.

Chief Financial Officer of Omni Group Aslam Masood along with his wife is also shown as a listed owner of several properties in the data. The News checked the value of one of them and found out that it was purchased at AED1,060,626 (Rs80m) in March 2013.

Sohrab Dinshaw is also a property owner in Dubai. A villa he purchased in 2015 carried a purchase price of AED 1271888 (Rs96m).

All of the individuals mentioned were sent questions (except Aslam Masood who is deceased).

Per the Property Leaks data, Naqvi’s wife owns a five-bedroom villa in the Arabian Ranches. She received a rental income of AED600,000 (Rs45m) from this villa, which was purchased in August 2017 for AED4,347,888 (Rs329m) according to the record seen by The News. The villa remained in her ownership till April 2023 when it was sold for AED4,550,000 (Rs344m) as per the record.

Since the data available to The News and other organisations was updated till 2022, Naqvi’s wife’s name appeared once in it — related to the above-mentioned information. She however continues to be the owner of a property in Dubai, if Dubai's land record is taken as a guide.