'Feels like a dream': Remember Dubai's Dh50-million Mahzooz winner? Pakistani driver is now a businessman, property owner

He now lives in a villa, drives his dream car and even won a Mercedes Benz from an exchange house after sending a portion of his winnings to his home country

Junaid Rana. Photos: Supplied
Junaid Rana. Photos: Supplied

Nasreen Abdulla

Published: Wed 1 Feb 2023, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Wed 1 Feb 2023, 2:01 PM

'Dreams do come true'. And who could give a better testimonial of this than Pakistani national Junaid Rana? From being a driver to an entrepreneur, Junaid's life changed overnight when he hit the Mahzooz jackpot of Dh50 million in October 2021.

Lady luck smiled at him again when he won a Mercedes Benz from an exchange house after sending a portion of his winnings to Pakistan. "I got a call when I was back home that I had won (a car),” he said. “I thought it was one of those prank calls, but when I returned to Dubai, I realised it was true."

With his winnings, Junaid did everything he had dreamt of and then some more. “I bought a house in Pakistan and Dubai,” he said. “And it was my biggest dream to bring my family to Dubai and I flew down my mother, wife, children, brother and sister. The happiness on their face was worth more than all the money that I had won. I wanted them to settle here, but my mother began missing her friends and life in Pakistan. So now my family shuttles between Pakistan and Dubai.”

The expat, who has four children, now lives in a 4 bedroom townhouse in Al Furjan. “My priority was to secure my children’s future,” he said. After making the necessary investments for them, Junaid set up a surgical supply business and a snooker club in Pakistan. “I was always a fan of snooker,” he said. “I wanted the youngsters in my place to be able to enjoy it as well. That is why I started a club.”

Junaid at his home in Al Furjan
Junaid at his home in Al Furjan

The Dubai dream

Growing up in Dubai, Junaid had to move back to Pakistan when his father, who ran a small tailoring business, fell ill. After selling the business, Junaid took care of his father till his death five years later.

He returned to the emirate to work as a driver for a company, earning a salary of Dh6,000. “Out of my salary, Dh3,000 used to go towards a loan I had taken for my house,” he said. “Dh1,000 was my rent. Then I would send Dh1,000 to my family in Pakistan for their expenditure. The remaining Dh1,000 was what I had for my groceries, fuel and personal expenditure.”

According to Junaid, sometimes being a millionaire feels like a dream. “Sometimes I still cannot believe that I am living in my own house in Dubai,” he said. “I used to work so hard to save some money. I was always cutting corners and suddenly had enough money to fulfil all my dreams.”

His luxury purchases were all vehicles. “My dream car was a Nissan GTR,” he said. “So, when I got the money, I bought that car. I bought a bike as well.”

Junaid with his dream car, the Nissan GTR
Junaid with his dream car, the Nissan GTR

However, for him the most important of all was being able to help all his siblings settle. “One of my brothers is unable to work,” he said. “My father’s dying words to me was to take care of him. I have bought him a house and a car and I have arranged the means for him to be comfortable for the rest of his life. This was another thing I achieved because of the money.”

Currently Junaid is in the process of procuring land to build an old age home in his hometown. “I don’t want to talk a lot about it,” he said. “But the work is underway and hopefully, I will have it set up soon.”

The big win

Bought at the spur of the moment, Junaid did not think in his wildest dreams that he would win the Mahzooz draw. “I bought the ticket at night and went to sleep,” he said. “I had bought it previously and had never even matched two numbers.”

The following day when he went to work, the security officer informed him about someone winning the Dh50 million grand prize. “I told him, ‘oh, that guy is so lucky’, even without remembering that I had bought a ticket,” he said. “I did not remember until later. And when I checked, I could not believe my eyes.”

Junaid says he still keeps in touch with his old colleagues and sees them at least once or twice a month. “My former boss, Itad, is from Lebanon, and he is a gem of a person,” he said. “I respect him a lot. Also, my colleagues were all amazing people, and I go back to see them often.”

The bike Junaid bought with his winning
The bike Junaid bought with his winning

Junaid said it sometimes feels strange to hear people call him boss. “I used to be a salaried employee and called other people boss,” he said. “When my employees in Pakistan started calling me boss, it was a little strange. But now, I am used to it. I try to treat my employees like my brothers.”

The millionaire said he had some bad experiences because of the win. “I have given money to all my distant relatives,” he said. “But even then, he faced some negativities. However, I don’t focus on them. I focus on the positives and move on with life. Allah has blessed me with this wealth. Every time I call my mother, she sounds so happy and prays for me. I am content.”


More news from UAE