Pakistan Association Dubai building being demolished which will make way for multi speciality Pakistan Medical Centre. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai

The demolition process of the 33-year-old building of Pakistan Association Dubai (PAD) has begun, paving the way for a new Dh12 million Pakistan Centre which also includes a not-for-profit medical complex.

The Pakistan Centre project was launched last year under the theme of ‘Own a Brick’, which breaks down the project cost into 12,000 bricks, with each brick costing Dh1,000. The theme aims to encourage the community to support the project. The complex is scheduled to open within two years.

The building at PAD being demolished now was built in 1984 on land gifted to the Pakistani community by the late Shaikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum in 1973.

Dr Faisal Ikram, president of PAD, said: “Back then too community members from all walks of life, especially the blue collar workers, helped the structure find its ground and today also we are banking on our members to help us fulfil the dream of Pakistan Centre.”

Pakistan Centre will be housed in a two-storey structure encompassing a Pakistan Medical Centre, a health and fitness centre, a restaurant, mosque, seminar rooms, offices, children’s play area and a barbecue area.

The highlight of the project will be the Pakistan Medical Centre, which will serve as a not-for-profit healthcare facility for all nationalities.

“As we enter into the Year of Zayed [2018] from Year of Giving [2017], our belief in giving back to the community has strengthened. We wish to leave a legacy behind like the Founding Father of UAE which will be a source of pride for our younger generations.”

According to Dr Ikram, there are over 1.5 million Pakistanis residing in the UAE, which should make it easy to arrange for 12,000 bricks. He said Pakistani expats should feel a sense of responsibility in endorsing the project, taking ownership and contributing towards it in any way they can.

The project was launched last year on Pakistan’s Independence Day (August 14) under the vision of ‘One Nation One Dream’. This year, on August 14, the foundation stone was laid by Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister for Tolerance.

“The Pakistan Centre is a project of 18 months, which we plan to deliver before time and, God willing, inaugurate it on August 14, 2019, fulfilling our promise to the community,” Dr Ikram said.

The project has received widespread appreciation, with the Government of Dubai endorsing it as a project for the Year of Giving. Prominent Pakistanis such as artist Anwar Maqsood and cricketer Shahid Afridi have joined the campaign, which has seen commitments of Dh9 million.

Dr Ikram said support from the Community Development Authority of Dubai has played an integral role in helping the community “achieve what seemed impossible to them”.