Speaking up

PAKISTANIS ARE celebrating their Independence Day with enthusiasm. They have aspirations, fears and hopes about the future of their country. In this survey of prominent Pakistanis in the UAE, Khaleej Times asked them three simple questions:

By Mohammad Abdul Qudoos (Staff Reporter)

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Published: Tue 14 Aug 2007, 12:15 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 11:53 PM

What has Pakistan achieved in 60 years as a nation? What has been your contribution? How would you describe the Pakistan of your dreams?

Haji Abdul Razzak Yaqoob, chairman, ARY Group of Companies and president World Memon Organisation, says, 'In its short history of 60 years as a nation, Pakistan has made major achievements in several fields of significance. We, as Pakistanis, have to learnt be optimistic in our approach and shun negative thinking. The highs and lows, that Pakistan has been experiencing, are a natural phenomenon in the life of a dynamic nation. We at ARY do not like to boast about ourselves. We have made our humble contributions in a number of fields as we consider it our foremost responsibility to do whatever we can for our homeland. We are also thankful to the UAE government, Dubai government, and His Highness Shaikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, for providing us the facilities for our base in Dubai. I see Pakistan as a strong, stable and peaceful whose people excel in all walks of life.'

Izhar Haider, former chief engineer, Abu Dhabi Municipality and ex-president of Pakistan Cultural Centre, Abu Dhabi: Pakistan has achieved near self sufficiency in defence, foreign exchange, engineering, health, agriculture, banking, education, industry, manpower, computers, good foreign policy, manufacturing of engineering goods, railways, airways, print and electronic media, telephone industry, automobiles, construction sector and engineering. More can be done by organizing our system and employing latest techniques. At the Pakistan Centre, I have contributed to relief and rehabilitation in Azad Kashmir and still contributing. In my 36 years stay here, I have specially worked in education, building and construction industry, social and welfare work, literary activities, radio broadcasting for almost 25 years, jobs for Pakistanis, and sports. I have received many awards and was nominated for Pride of Performance Award. I dream of Pakistan following the vision of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Allama Iqbal, an Asian Tiger and then a World Tiger, a country that gives and does not borrow, an international player and a secure country where everybody is provided food, health and housing and lives without problems. .

Mohammad Saeed Mian, chairman, Saeed Group of Companies and former president of Pakistan Social Centre, Sharjah: In the past 60 years, every new ruler has done new experiments in Pakistan and given a new dictionary of hatred but no message of love. What we have contributed to Pakistan as overseas Pakistanis, we could have never done that while living in Pakistan but our countrymen could not sustain our contribution and properly use our resources. While at the Pakistan Centre, I collected from the community and contributed $7 million to the 'Qarz Utaro, Mulk Sanwaro' scheme, but did not even receive an acknowledgement. For the future, I see a change for the good. May be our position will be better in 10 years time. Maybe, we have reached the maximum depth in our decline and there is no way that we could go down any further. Therefore, it is time to climb up. We have high expectations from our judiciary and from our media, which is playing an important role in spreading information.

Gul Mohammad Memon, chairman and CEO of Mehran group: We did not achieve what was expected of Pakistan by the father of the nation as a democratic country with guaranteed rights of its people. Not much has been achieved. Half of Pakistan is lost, the military regime being mostly responsible. My father, Ghulam Mohammad Lot, and I have been in the parliament three times. I was a Sindh cabinet ministering 1991-92. We both tried our level best to develop our constituency, Tharparkar. We never took any benefits from our position. I am a leading industrialist from Pakistan. Our Mehran Spice and Food Industries have received 22 Best Export Awards in our field since 1984. We have provided millions of dollars to Pakistan in foreign exchange every year through exports. We have always been helping the Pakistani community here. We expect to see a true democratic, liberal and modern Pakistan where human rights are respected, emphasis placed on education, health and communication, and a favourable environment created for honest and hard working people for a new Pakistan.

Dr. Ahmed Mustansir Billah, veterinary advisor and consultant to Dubai Racing: As a nation, we are proud of Pakistan's international position and its importance in the league of nations. Pakistan government has made significant overall achievements. Pakistan has given me a lot, the best education, for example. In the past 30 years in the UAE, I have wanted to pay back to my country. My small contribution in my professional sphere is that 2,000 to 2,500 illiterate Pakistanis are working in the field of grooming of horses. There are people associated with horses in the UK, France, Ireland and the US. The future Pakistan should be stronger than today so hat we are proud of being Pakistan on the international forum. To achieve that, we will have to work hard with honesty.

Choudhary Abdul Hameed, managing director, Ravi Restaurant, Dubai: Pakistan is the product of sacrifices given by our forefathers. Today, we have to think abut what have we given to Pakistan in these 60 years. Our identity lies in Pakistan. We will have to play a full role for the progress and prosperity of Pakistan. Today Pakistan is surrounded by internal and external dangers. We have to be united as a nation to face the dangers and defeat the aims of the enemies of the country. Pakistan has made significant progress during the era of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and in the current era of General Pervaiz Musharraf in which the country is developing at a fast pace. Soon Pakistan will repay its IMF loans. We pray that Pakistan is always protected by Allah.

Arif Pardesi, chief executive of ABC International Ltd Dubai: Everybody has looted Pakistan. Nobody has ever thought of giving to Pakistan. We had some good leaders but we did not benefit from them. I think I could not do what I should have done for Pakistan, not even 0.05 per cent. If we really want, we can straighten out thing in Pakistan within six months.

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