Pak expat sees 50 years of UAE’s spectacular growth - GulfToday

Pak expat sees 50 years of UAE’s spectacular growth


Ata ul Haq Qasmi, a well-known poet and writer in Sharjah, with Sheikh Muhammed Pervaiz.

Jamil Khan, Senior Reporter

“The pleasure of being a resident of the world’s best country on the planet for the last 50 years is enormous. Most importantly, we are the lucky ones who witnessed the magnificent development of all modern facilities of today from the start.”

This was stated by Pakistani expatriate Sheikh Muhammed Pervaiz who recently completed 50 years of his stay in the country. He embarked from Karachi on the famous merchant ship, Doarka, and reached Dubai on Aug 24, 1971.

Hailing from Lahore, he was 23 then and had just got his degree to pursue his career in a new land, which offered enormous opportunities, as it was the talk of the town in the early ‘70s.

“At that time, youngsters with degrees were ready to try their luck in Dubai to find a good opportunity while it was still a Trucial State. To see my passion, one of my relatives, who was an employee in the British Embassy in Pakistan and later became my father-in-law, obtained a visa for me. The joy was unforgettable and without further delay I was sent to Karachi where I embarked on a ship and within 3-4 days reached Dubai,” he recalled.

“The journey was itself a lifetime experience, spending days and nights in the open sea with hundreds of unfamiliar passengers,” he said. He was asked to register himself in one of the offices which was set up near the port and deal with job placements. “With my fresh degree I was offered a job and within weeks I switched my job with a new opportunity in Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) where I spent four years,” he said.

Since he landed in Dubai, he saw many unusual things, from the open courts of Rulers to people from around the world seeking jobs and business opportunities to construction of new buildings and other infrastructure. “I saw His Excellency Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoom and other royal family members during their daily meetings with local businessmen and dignitaries outside the Zabeel Palace. I was lucky to meet him personally on different occasions at such open meetings and found him a kind-hearted and humble Ruler as everyone remembered him so,” he said.

MEMORABLE MEETING WITH SHEIKH MOHAMMED: During a trip to Karachi, Pervaiz brought a number of stuffed animals used as decorative ornaments. “One of my colleagues told me to present a beautifully decorated eagle to His Excellency Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who was Defence Minister at the time. We managed to reach the Ruler’s Office and with good luck met him to present the gift. He not only liked my gift but also honoured me with a prize which is a great memento of mine from the early days in the UAE,” he said.

Pervaiz’s second job in Dubai was with Al Futtaim group where he worked for the next 39 years and retired at the age of 66. He got his driving licence in 1975 and is still driving without a single accident on his book. He resides in Sharjah with one of his sons and also visits Pakistan on different occasions but wishes to spend his life in the UAE.

“I spend a great time with my family in Dubai as I married here and all my four children, 3 sons and one daughter, were born and raised here. Besides many small business ventures, I enjoyed the UAE’s progress as the leaders were not only humble but visionary too who paved the way for the development for future generations. My children completed their education from different top academic institutions in the country and are now living peaceful lives in the UAE ,” he said.

Recalling his early days, he said that the only entertainment in those days was watching movies in cinemas. “Now we have all world-class entertainment facilities in the country. Not only are residents happy but tourists are visiting these attractions from all over the world,” he said. He also remembered the early days when kerosene oil was delivered in donkey carts while potable water was also supplied by different means of transport.

In those days, the food items were cheap and the prices were very low. “We remember the price of an uneven bread (roti) was 25 fils, a soft drink can cost 25 fils, a big hammour fish sold for a dirham while gold was priced at Dhs64 for 12 grammes, the rented properties were also cheap,” he said.

“We saw a single road between Dubai and Sharjah and now we are using multiple roads with 6 plus lanes between the two emirates and connecting the whole country with multiple road networks of bridges, tunnels and causeways. Besides there is an abundance of academic institutions, malls, facilities for entertainment and leisure, industries with world-class ports and more, which are the result of the great work of the UAE’s visionary leaders,” he said.

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