UAE not to share bank data of Pak iqama holders with Islamabad

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ISLAMABAD: International law experts have been quoted as saying that  Pakistan government’s move to seek access to the actionable bank account information of its taxpayers in the UAE might have hit a snag.

Aamir Saeed has reported for Arab News that Pakistan believes its nationals are allegedly hiding behind UAE residence permits (iqama) to conceal their wealth and other tax-related information.

On Monday, the government expressed its regrets over non-cooperation from the UAE with regard to the assets obtained by its citizens in the Emirates with ill-gotten money. However, experts argue that authorities cannot force the UAE to share information on the movable and immovable assets purchased by Pakistani nationals who hold Emirati residence permits.

“It is the sole prerogative of the UAE government to share or refuse (to share) the sought information,” barrister Omer Malik, international law expert, told Arab News. “The UAE government may violate the right to privacy of an iqama holder if it opts to share his assets and tax-related information with Pakistan.”

In a letter to the UAE Ministry of Finance, Pakistan’s Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) had accused “delinquent tax residents” of having “siphoned off funds out of Pakistan” and “circumventing” the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) common reporting standard (CRS) regarding financial account information, which includes periodic exchange of taxpayer information.