The Pakistan Auditorium Dubai was inaugurated at the Pakistan Association Dubai in Oud Metha area. It has a capacity of seating 650 people. Image Credit: Zarina Fernandes/Gulf News

Dubai: A long-awaited community hall for Pakistanis in the UAE finally opened on Saturday in Dubai after years of delay.

The Dh7.5 million Pakistan Auditorium Dubai was inaugurated ameed cheers at the Pakistan Association Dubai (PAD) in Oud Metha area. Pakistanis now have their very own multipurpose facility for hosting a variety of events such as cultural shows, art galleries, conferences, sports matches, and even weddings and other social appointments.

Present at Saturday’s inauguration was Cheif Guest Arif Naqvi, Founder and Chief Executive, Abraaj Group. Prominent community members were also invited for the opening ceremony.

The project was funded by the Pakistani community, said PAD secretary-general Dr Faisal Ikram. It suffered a number of delays over the years during periods when funds ran low.

The 650-seating capacity building was originally planned in 1991 but “real work” on the project only started in 2009. However, work had stalled in the subsequent credit crunch and resumed in 2014, Dr Ikram added.

“The whole purpose of the auditorium is to serve the community ... It also has a state-of-the-art audio-video system and an e-library,” he said.

“We will have in place a business development manager and a board who will manage the facility. PAD members will be able to use the facility at nominal cost.”

The hall had been described by senior PAD officials as a priority, considering Pakistanis previously had no similar venue for large-scale community events. The auditorium is the “largest project of the Pakistani community in Dubai”, Dr Ikram said.

“Before we had to rent because the community didn’t have a place. Now we have our own place. I think the long-awaited project has made people very happy, the feedback has been very positive. It will play a role in bringing the community together.”

Another major project planned at PAD is a low-cost, multi-speciality Pakistani medical centre that will treat hundreds of patients a day.

Dr Ikram said: “We’re waiting for the final approval from authorities. The financials are already in place.”

The medical centre will cost roughly Dh2 million. At PAD, there will also be a restaurant that will be based on “Pakistani cuisine and

culture”, he added.