Dubai: Pakistanis in Dubai have started a series of ‘solidarity celebrations’ ahead of UAE National Day on December 2.
The activities — planned over several days by the Pakistan Association Dubai (PAD) — include a solidarity walk, health camp, poetry event, speeches, food stalls, a traditional bazaar and a Facebook photo contest.
The UAE is to mark its 41st National Day after gaining independence from Britain on December 2, 1971.
Pakistanis are among the oldest and biggest expatriate communities in the UAE, having arrived on its shores even before it was a nation state.
The two countries enjoy close ties and regularly take part in each other’s national celebrations.
“Pakistan is the only country that has come up with a month-long series of activities to mark the UAE National Day. PAD was here before 1971 — since 1969 — and Pakistan was the first country to recognise the UAE on the map of the world,” said PAD General Secretary Dr Faisal Ikram on Friday.
He made the comments during the celebrations’ opening ceremony at PAD’s premises in Oud Metha.
Guests at the event included Khalid Al Kamdah, Director-General, Community Development Authority; Jamil Ahmad Khan, the Pakistani ambassador to the UAE; Tariq Iqbal Somro, the Consul General of Pakistan in Dubai; and Dr Omar Al Muthanna, CEO of the CDA’s Licensing and Regulatory Agency.
Presentations were hosted under the theme of ‘UAE, Our Second Home’ and the ‘Law of the Land, Our Responsibilities’.
Al Kamdah said: “If we can strike ‘Second’, we can call the UAE ‘Our Home’, On behalf of the UAE people, we’re grateful to Pakistan and the Pakistani community here.
“You’ve helped develop and build this country. It was a long time ago, when I joined Emirates Airlines that couldn’t have happened without the involvement of the PIA [Pakistan International Airlines].”
Al Kamdah was referring to PIA’s role in launching Emirates’ first flight, from Dubai to Karachi in 1985.
He added: “The airline started overnight. The first thing we did, we went to our friends, who immediately put to our disposal two aircraft.
“We would like you to be part of the community. We’re not saying ‘the UAE wellbeing’, we’re saying ‘the community wellbeing. This is your home; Dubai’s where we all work together.”
The UAE’s contributions to Pakistan were also highlighted, with mention of its relief for survivors of natural disasters in Pakistan and investments in Pakistan’s economy and education projects.