x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Pakistani community centre remains on course

Dh2 million has been raised for a Dh4 million community centre for the Pakistan Association of Dubai.


DUBAI // A multimillion-dirham plan to build a hall for the Pakistani community remains on course despite a lack of funds.

An appeal for Dh4 million has been launched by the Pakistan Association of Dubai (PAD), which is behind the scheme, to complete the centre by May. The hall will have a capacity for 650 people, including a library with 16 computer work stations and an area for indoor games such as table tennis and badminton.

The group hopes wealthy businessmen and Pakistani companies based in the Emirate will come forward to donate money. So far Dh2 million has been spent, of which half came from existing PAD funds and the rest through donations.

“There isn’t really very much in terms of facilities for the Pakistani community in Dubai,” said Riaz Farooq, the PAD president. “That is why it’s so important that we finish the remaining work on it and get it open.”

Work on the Dh6.3 million hall behind the existing PAD centre off Oud Metha Road in Bur Dubai began in March last year. Although most of the structure has been completed, funding for the rest of the project has almost run out.

“We are hoping to complete it this year and God willing we will,” said Mr Farooq. “But to do that we will be approaching Pakistani businessmen and companies in the city for help. I’m sure we will raise the rest of the money because there is huge interest within the community about the project.”

He said the association would be able to generate extra revenue once the new hall was opened and was being used. That money would then be ploughed back into PAD coffers to fund other community projects.

The ground floor of the 1,688 square metre multipurpose hall will also feature a lobby area, a kitchen, toilets and a 43-space car park. There will be a first-floor gallery seating almost 200 people.

“It’s been our dream to have this hall completed and open for the Pakistani community to use,” said Muhammed Azeem, PAD’s vice president. “It will be a very flexible facility. Building-wise we just need to put in place the roof and then we can start on the finishings. People will be able to use it for weddings or other functions and it will be affordable. Once that has been done we can move onto our second phase, which will include restaurants.”

Some members of the community were already looking forward to the facility’s opening. Rafique Ali, who works for an information technology firm, said it should help families cut costs for major events.

“I think it will be very good once it opens,” said Rafique Ali, 23, who works in the for an IT company. “I have relatives who have had to book expensive hotels to have their wedding receptions, so when this hall opens it will be a very cost-effective alternative.”