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Mariam Mumtaz: A ‘mini-Pakistan’ in the UAE
August 14, 2017
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This year Pakistanis will be celebrating Pakistan’s 70th birthday with the same spirit and nationalism as every year. As an expatriate Pakistani living in the United Arab Emirates there is more to it than only rejoicing that my homeland has turned 70 years old.

My community group has been working relentlessly since 1963 under the title of Pakistan Association Dubai. Brick by brick, effort by effort the organisation has grown from strength to strength and fifty-four years after it was born in a small office in Murshid Bazaar, it stands tall having its own compound in Oud Metha.

Built on the land gifted by the late Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum in 1973, countrymen across all regions of Pakistan and all walks of life joined hands to build a structure which was inaugurated in 1984. Since then there has been no looking back.

PAD became a platform where a blue-collar worker and a high-end businessman would come and feel at home. Pakistanis from all ethnic backgrounds endorsed the institution and their presence on the premises and made it look like a ‘Mini-Pakistan’.

With time ‘Mini-Pakistan’ became popular and bigger, countrymen thronged it on all national occasions as well as when any calamity hit Pakistan. Every individual working towards its betterment and amelioration does it on a volunteer basis.

Currently they are running a campaign called ‘Own a Brick’ which encourages community members to contribute towards a landmark project, Pakistan Centre.

Considered to be the world’s largest community centre for overseas Pakistanis, its healthcare facility will be a not-for-profit, a first of its kind in the GCC. The Dhs12m project was launched last year on Aug.14, gathering applause from all sections of the society.

This Independence Day the foundation stone of the Pakistan Centre will be laid by Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Youth, Culture and Social Development. And the construction of the first green community project will begin which would be completed in 18 months.

The uniqueness of this project is its Medical Centre. Though it will be located in the premises of Pakistan Association Dubai, the healthcare facilities will remain open to all nationalities. The not-for-profit medical centre will not distinguish between a Pakistani and a non-Pakistani, a blue-collar or a white-collar worker, a patient who can afford and a patient who cannot afford.

Providing quality healthcare remains the utmost priority of those who are the driving force behind this project. The pool of doctors who had proposed the idea for the Pakistan Centre in actual treated a massive number of underprivileged patients while holding medical camps every month for almost eight years and felt the undying need for a permanent facility.

Hence, the project came into being.

Apart from the healthcare facility, Pakistan Centre will encompass a gymnasium, seminar rooms, business incubation centres, a theme restaurant, ladies and gents mosque, and a BBQ and play area. The place will be a connecting hub for community members to socialise and network. Every Pakistani in the United Arab Emirates can play a role in being a part of this historic project. They can either own bricks, volunteer for the cause or spread awareness; in the end it all comes down to doing a fraction of what we can in expressing our love and passion towards our community.

Let’s all take a share of the pride Pakistan Centre will bless us with.

Long Live Pakistan!!
____________________________
The writer is the communications
in-charge for Pakistan Centre

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