The Pakistani community gathered at the Pakistan Association in Dubai to welcome the Ambassador of Pakistan Centre Anwar Maqsood. Image Credit: PAD

Dubai: Community members gathered at the Pakistan Association in Dubai (PAD) on Friday evening to welcome artist Anwar Maqsood, who has been named Ambassador of Pakistan Centre.

Pakistan Centre, once completed, will be the world’s largest community centre for overseas Pakistanis. The funding for the Dh12-million project is divided into 12,000 bricks, with each brick costing Dh1,000.

Also present at Friday’s event were Moazzam Ahmad Khan, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UAE; and Syed Javed Hassan, Pakistan’s Counsel-General in Dubai. They both contributed towards the larger cause of Pakistan Centre.

Maqsood endorsed the landmark project last year and gave it a boost, encouraging people to own bricks for the centre. Last year, Maqsood pledged to donate his paintings for the cause.

The Pakistan Centre project, which includes a Pakistan Medical Centre, a health and fitness centre, a restaurant, a mosque, seminar rooms and offices, was launched on August 14, 2016.

Friday’s event was held in line with the theme of ‘Own a Brick’, in which every person gets an opportunity to engrave his/her name in the community cause.

“The hallmark of this project is the not-for-profit health-care facility that will be open to all nationalities and will be a pride for the community. I also thank the government of UAE for endorsing this project as an initiative of the Year of Giving 2017,” said Dr Faisal Ikram, president of PAD.

Dr Ikram also congratulated all new brick owners and welcomed them into the PAD family.

As always, Maqsood enthralled the audience with his signature tongue-in-cheek comedy. He also shed light on how this project will be written in history in “golden letters”.

“I feel humbled to be declared as an ambassador and want each and every individual of the community to participate in the noble cause,” said Maqsood. He added that the community should thank the government of the UAE for providing an environment and platform to conduct such community activities.

“I pray that this project be completed soon and upon my next visit I wish to see it inaugurated,” said Maqsood.

The multi-faceted artist was joined on stage by his wife Imrana Maqsood, who read excerpts from her recently launched book ‘Uljhay Suljhay Anwar’.

The book, copies of which were signed by Maqsood, was also made available to the audience.

The audience at Pakistan Auditorium gave a standing ovation to the acclaimed scriptwriter, who despite his ill health had travelled for the cause of Pakistan Centre.

“We are lucky to have such a phenomenal artist become a part of our cause. We also thank the Community Development Authority who have throughout helped us in our every endeavour,” said Tahir Zaidi, general secretary of PAD.