Dubai: A family’s dream of returning home to Pakistan permanently after living illegally for more than a decade in Dubai has been granted thanks to Gulf News readers who helped fund their passage.
The family of five boarded a plane and were homeward bound on Thursday morning on a Fly Dubai aeroplane.
The family had earlier been granted approval to leave the UAE under the amnesty programme by the Ministry of Interior, but were unable to go home because they couldn’t afford it.
Faisal Alam, the father, told Gulf News a few hours before he travelled with his family that he was full of gratitude to the people who helped see his dreams come true.
Alam, the father of three young boys, came from Karachi to work here in 1994. He said that after he worked for three years for a company in Jebel Ali, the company closed down leaving all the workers in a dilemma.
“I got married to my wife Shama Khan, an Indian, and we had our first child Usama in 1998,” he said. “My second child, Hussain, was born in Dubai in 2003 and my little boy Farhan was born in 2009 while my elder son was born in Latifa Hospital.”
Since 1998 he had been staying here without a residence visa.
He was on a visit visa and used to renew it by going to Kish Island but since 2000 he has been illegal, he said.
“I lived here on a visit visa for many years and my children were without residency since birth,” he said. “I lived here scared and afraid all these years, worried that I would be arrested by police because I’m illegal. But shortage of money and fearing jail forced me to stay illegal here,” he said, noting that he had no money to pay overstay fines.
He said he dreamed every day of going to his home country.
Alam said he used to do odd jobs to support his family.
“My children did not go to school and I hope now that I can help them to go to school and live a proper life,” he said.
Wife Shama said: “We lived a miserable life and we used to borrow money from people to survive. I wish that me and my husband will have a good job soon so we can support our children.”
Shama said now they will have peace of mind and they will not be afraid because of living illegally in the UAE.
“We are thankful to Gulf News readers who helped us with our problem,” she said. “I cannot express my feelings and my joy because of the people who rushed to help us. I cannot stop my tears because those people make me feel that life is still good and that there is hope for every one,” she said.