Pakistanis celebrate their Independence Day at the Pakistan Association in Dubai on Sunday. The association unveiled a plan for a multi-facility community centre. Image Credit: Arshad Ali/Gulf News

Dubai: Renowned Pakistani social worker Abdul Bari Khan has extended his support to the Pakistan Association Dubai (PAD) to set up a not-for-profit medical centre it plans to build.

Khan, who is the co-founder and CEO of Indus Hospital Karachi, which offers free health care to its patients, hailed the plans of PAD and offered to help set up the centre while speaking at the unveiling of PAD’s Dh12 million Pakistan Centre project on Sunday.

“Standing here today at the launch of this historic project reminds me of a dream we saw in 1987 of establishing a free-of-cost hospital in Karachi which we started in 2008 and in nine years we have treated 2.5 million people. I want tell you all that with firm belief in Almighty Allah and conviction, any dream can be achieved and our success should serve as an inspiration for you. We are ready to extend any technical help required in setting up this projects,” said Khan, who is a cardiologist and has set up several hospitals with the Government of Pakistan on a public-private partnership model.

The medical facility will be part of a multi-facility community centre that PAD unveiled on Sunday during the celebrations to mark Pakistan’s 70th Independence Day.

The two-storey community centre, which will replace the existing PAD office building in Oud Metha, will have multiple facilities such as a fitness and rehabilitation facility, a theme restaurant, a mosque, offices, seminar rooms as well as children’s play area and a barbeque area, apart from the medical centre.

PAD had last week announced that it will raise the funds to develop the project through an ‘own a brick’ campaign launched on Sunday.

The association offers community members 12,000 bricks at a price of Dh1,000 each, allowing them to participate in the project, while offering them lifetime membership.

Launching the project, Dr Faisal Ikram, general secretary of PAD, said that with the support of the community, the building will be ready in 18 months.

“Just like Pakistan was a dream that became a reality, the project is a dream for us and I don’t think it is difficult to achieve. With around 1.6 million Pakistanis living in Dubai, we hope to achieve the target easily,” said Dr. Ikram

The unveiling of the project was done in the presence of Khalid Al Kamda, director-general of Community Development Authority (CDA), Dr Abdul Bari Khan, Samar Javed, Acting Consul-General of Pakistan to Dubai, and Dr Faisal Aziz Ahmad, Charge d’Affaires of Pakistan Embassy in Abu Dhabi.

The not-for-profit medical centre, a primary feature of the project, aims to provide affordable health care through annual membership, which costs Dh1,000 per member.

The facility will provide free care for financially disadvantaged members of the society.

“Pakistan Medical Centre will be the first ever non-profit health-care facility to be built by expatriates at their community centre anywhere in the world,” said Dr Ikram.

The medical centre is being built in cooperation with Community Development Authority (CDA), Dubai Health Authority (DHA), Dubai Economic Department, Dar Al Ber Society and Emirates Red Crescent.

Founded in 1969, the current building was built in 1984 on land donated by the late Dubai Ruler Shaikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum.