x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Pakistiani community hall needs cash boost

The Pakistan Association of Dubai needs to raise extra funding to complete multipurpose facility for weddings and other events.

The main structire of the multipurpose hall being built by the Pakistan Association Dubai has been completed, but work remains to be done on the interiors.
The main structire of the multipurpose hall being built by the Pakistan Association Dubai has been completed, but work remains to be done on the interiors.

DUBAI // Work on a long-awaited multi million-dirham hall for the Pakistani community has been halted due to a shortfall in funding.

The Pakistan Association of Dubai (PAD) had launched a fundraising drive to raise the extra Dh4 million needed, but a poor response from the public means the facility will not be completed until the end of the year.

Organisers had originally hoped to finish the hall by the end of May, so as to provide an affordable location for the Pakistani community to hold weddings and business functions.

"That doesn't look likely because we just haven't had the response we had hoped for in terms of donations," said Rizwan Fancy, the association's community welfare officer.

"We have had a lot of people who have pledged their support but as yet nothing substantial in terms of donations."

Organisers declined to say how much of the Dh4m target they had managed to raise.

Work on the outer shell of the building, costing Dh2.2m, has been completed as part of the overall Dh6.3m project. However work on the interior has halted because the money has run out.

"The extra funding is needed because we need to carry out the finishings, including installing a state-of-the-art sound system as well as the electrics, said Mr Fancy.

"It's frustrating that we are so close to getting the building ready for use but we have this one final hurdle."

Mr Fancy said that if the funding were found in May, the hall could be completed in three to six months.He said the association would also accept non-financial aid such as furniture and materials.

Talk of a dedicated hall for Dubai's Pakistanis stretches back decades.

"I remember they were talking about building a hall for the community when I was a child," said Mobisher Rabbani, a 28-year-old businessman.

"I think maybe people just think it's been going on for so long that they have lost the enthusiasm for it and think it will never get done."

He said it was important for Pakistanis to have a suitable venue for events.

"If you look at the Indian and Iranian communities they both have their own facilities and yet the Pakistani community, which is one of the biggest, doesn't. It's a real shame."

More could be done through better communication from the association about the benefits of the hall to the wider Pakistani community, he said.

"Maybe people think it's just for the use of the association and that's why they have been slow to respond. There needs to be more outreach from the PAD to the community about raising this money."

Zahida Praveen, a spokeswoman for the Pakistani Embassy, said it had contributed Dh500,000 to the project.

"We made appeals to the community to help complete this project and a number of pledges were made by people form the community but unfortunately - maybe due to the recession - these pledges have not been realised.

"We are with the PAD on this project and would encourage people who can help monetarily to come forward," she said.

"This is a community project that will be for the benefit of everyone and we are again appealing through The National for people to help."

Once completed, the hall will have space for 650 people, with an attached library housing 16 computers and an area for indoor games such as table tennis and badminton.

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

nhanif@thenational.ae