Ignite the spirit of society

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Ignite the spirit of society

Pakistan Association Dubai aims to engage every Pakistani in its conscious efforts for community development

By Dr Zia Ul Hasan

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Published: Sun 14 Aug 2016, 1:08 PM

Last updated: Sun 14 Aug 2016, 3:23 PM

Pakistan Association Dubai (PAD) is a voluntary, non-profit, welfare, social and cultural organisation of Pakistani expatriates. PAD is among the most prestigious bodies of 1.5 million Pakistanis living in the UAE and is registered with the Community Development Authority, Government of Dubai.

Starting off from a small rented office space in Murshid Bazaar in 1963, it has transformed into a well-established and vibrant association with premises in Bur Dubai, built on land gifted by late Shaikh Rashid Al Maktoum in 1974.
Pakistan Association Dubai is the spirit and palpitation of many Pakistanis; a realisation of their dreams, a stature of hope and a body of pride. Pakistanis in the UAE who have come from the deserts of Mehran, the skirting hills of Bolan, the agricultural beauties of Punjab, the cascades of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and the heavenly spectacle of Kashmir, are all united under one slogan: "We are Pakistanis - We are One".
Founding Father of Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah, said: "The success of our achievement will depend upon our unity, discipline and faith, not only in ourselves, but in Allah who determines the destinies of people and nations." Based on these principles, the Association has obtained the honour of being the first-of-its-kind and is on the go to serve the community in the best possible fashion. Today, several professional wings of PAD are diligently working in their own nature and capacity, including the Professionals Wing, Medical Wing, Journalist Forum, PIC-IBA, ICAP Wing, ICPAP Wing, Pakistan Youth Forum, Pak Chinar Wing, Pak Khyber Wing, Marine Wing, and IT-Wing.

Dr Zia Ul Hasan, President, Pakistan Association Dubai
Community welfare remains the key objective of PAD. It has been serving the community by organising cultural, social, sports and educational programmes along with various welfare activities. PAD provides help and support to underprivileged people of the society in various forms, like providing school fees for needy, health support, paying medical bills and house rents, legal aids, food packages, facilitating prisoner release, etc. PAD has also been actively involved in relief and rehabilitation projects during natural disasters in Pakistan.
Main community welfare activities focus on the following areas:

PAD celebrates the national days of Pakistan and the UAE with great spirit and fervour every year. Celebrations like Mera Pakistan, Pakistan Awards Ceremony, Solidarity Celebrations, Mena Bazar, and Food Festival, are a few to mention.
A month-long celebration to mark the UAE National Day reflects the historic brotherly relationship between the two countries. A Solidarity Walk organised every year on December 2 is attended by thousands of people from the Pakistani community every year to show solidarity with Emirati brethren.
Stage dramas and literary events are regularly organised throughout the year with grand poetry sessions by famous poets from Pakistan.
The art and photography club organises exhibitions to highlight Pakistani talent in and outside Pakistan.  

PAD provides sport activities by organising various cricket, football and volleyball tournaments.
A cricket-training academy with cemented and trough pitches, and a lawn tennis court are available for the community.
Outdoor activities like Desert Fun Drives are an attraction for 4x4 lovers.
The sports arena, a seven-sport facility features cricket, football, hockey, lawn tennis, basketball, volleyball, and indoor games facilities for badminton and table tennis that prove to be a great value addition to the Pakistan Association Dubai.

PAD provides financial assistance to UAE-based schoolchildren, who cannot afford their school fees. Pakistan Professional Wing of PAD also grants scholarships to needy Pakistani students. PAD signed MoUs with various local universities, providing scholarships for postgraduate students. In 2010, PAD set up an orphanage (Parwarish) in Swat, Pakistan where 234 students are currently studying and have been adopted by the Pakistani community in the UAE.
PAD organises teacher-training workshops and seminars for 10 Pakistani schools in the UAE to develop teaching skills. It also organises English language classes for labourers and drivers, and offers Arabic classes for community members. It also organises educational events, summer camps, personality development seminars, career counselling, and educational exhibitions for the community. The Pakistan Youth Forum (PYF) also organises youth enhancement workshops for Pakistani students in the community schools.

Free medical camps have been organised by the Medical Wing of PAD every month since 2009 to provide basic health checks, consultations and chronic medication to needy patients. Health Awareness activities at labour camps are held periodically in collaboration with the Community Development Authority (CDA) and major hospital groups. MoUs signed with various low-cost lab facilities offer affordable eye checks and dental treatments. It also regularly conducts blood donation camps to support the Thalassemia Centre. The medical wing of PAD conducts Continuous Medical Education (CME) seminars for health professionals. PYF also organises workshops on health awareness and oral hygiene in Pakistani schools.

Social initiatives
PAD provides food packages to needy families during the Holy Month of Ramadan and distributes Iftar packs at labour camps. It also organises old age home visits and gifts for the elderly; "Walk for a Cause" to raise funds for flood victims; "Fast for a Cause" for education; and the "Shukran" initiative for Dubai Municipality cleaners and workers.

Environmental campaigns
Beach cleaning campaigns held in collaboration with Dubai Municipality, and road and safety campaigns alongside RTA.

Prisoners release campaign      
There are a number of Pakistanis in UAE jails for minor offences, and many who are awaiting air tickets to return home after completion of their sentences. PAD helps pay their fines and provides air tickets to repatriate with the assistance of the Pakistan Consulate. The PAD team stays in touch with jail authorities to provide basic utility items, Eid gifts and visits by families of prisoners.

Relief during natural disasters
PAD, with help of the community and in collaboration with Emirates Red Crescent, provided relief to affected people during the earthquake in 2005 and disastrous floods in 2010 and 2011 in Pakistan. PAD focused on providing shelter, setting up dispensaries, providing ambulances, installation of water filtration plants, etc.
PAD also supported Red Crescent UAE in its relief efforts in Kosovo and Sri Lanka.
A "Qurbani project" and "Winter Support Programme 2013", in collaboration with the Emirates Red Crescent, were organised to support earthquake victims in Baluchistan.
With the grace of Almighty Allah, PAD carries out these activities solely on volunteer basis with financial support from community members and various corporations.
It is a matter of happiness and emotions when celebrating the nation's independence day. Such feelings multiply when one is abroad and away from home. On August 14, I am certain every Pakistani, here in the UAE and elsewhere in the world, experiences similar thoughts and excitement. Despite the challenges we face, we are very thankful to Allah (SWT) for the beautiful country for our future generations and us.
This year in particular, the Pakistani community in Dubai is delighted to celebrate Independence Day at the Pakistan Auditorium.
Pakistan Auditorium sufficiently caters  to the social needs of the community like events, cultural shows, weddings, birthday parties, stage dramas, symposia room, E-library, conference hall, education events, and arts and exhibition. The environment is fantastic for families and all age groups.
This unique and wonderful Association is in debt to the overwhelming response and support from members of the community for these achievements. We are also very grateful, as none of this would have been possible without the guidance of our licensing authority, the Community Development Authority, Government of Dubai.
Pakistan Association Dubai, representing all Pakistanis in the UAE, has decided to tag this year's Independence Day as "One Nation, One Dream". To remember and celebrate the occasion, a new building within the Association, the Pakistan Centre, will be launched. The highlight of the centre will be a self-sustainable Pakistan Medical Centre (PMC). PMC services will be accessible to every community member. Initial approvals by the CDA and DHA have already been achieved.  
PMC is conceived and built on the experience of the Medical Wing of Pakistan Association Dubai. Member doctors and paramedics, along with numerous volunteers, have been conducting monthly free health camps for over seven years at the Association and in labour camps, which gave an insight to community health needs. A large number of expatriates do not have access to quality health services, which is a prime and basic need of the community. The plan includes supporting public health issues, training and research as well as partnerships across communities.
A social and recreational club is considered incomplete without a quality theme restaurant, children play area, health fitness areas, with modern and contemporary office block and meeting rooms.  All such facilities are part of the plan.
By achieving the above goals, we aim to transform Pakistan Association Dubai into a prestigious institution that will be a source of utmost pride for every Pakistani residing in the UAE and a valuable gift to future generations. Pakistanis have tremendous potential to achieve their goals, even in difficult times, and we hope that with your support, we will complete our new projects as "One Nation, One Dream". Insha'Allah!
While living in Dubai lets us think of ways to represent our country and play a role within our means to help our community, we are grateful to the Government of the UAE for the Pakistan Association Dubai. So, come and join to be a part of the Association and seek support for the role you wish to play for Pakistan, all while living in Dubai.
I think we need only small and affordable steps within our means to join or make a team that will help others. I feel this would be of great help to the community and humanity, while being known as a proud Pakistani.

Dr Zia Ul Hasan is the President of the Pakistan Association Dubai.

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