Dubai: Forty eight years ago, he arrived in Dubai from Sialkot in Pakistan. It was a cold, windy day. It was December 20, 1970, before the unification of the United Arab Emirates. Today, expatriate Mohammad Nawaz Rabbani looks back at a lifetime of work and beams with pride.
The 71-year-old Pakistani expatriate came to the UAE at the age of 23, having completed his Bachelor’s degree in science. He came to the UAE on a visit visa, to meet his brother who had been living in the country for two years. Joining his brother on a work trip to Dubai Police, he chanced upon a job opening. The rest is history.
“I came on a flight of the British Overseas Airways Corporation, that used to fly back then. Even the visa was issued by the British embassy. When I came to the UAE, it was very peaceful, there was no rush. At the time, there was only one highway. I joined Dubai Police on March 9, 1971, in the administration department and started working in the Naif police station. They then built the police headquarters and we shifted there,” Rabbani told Gulf News.
Almost half a century later, he is now retired and continues to live in the UAE with his family.
Rabbani’s connection with the UAE is also a connection he has had with Gulf News, being a subscriber of the newspaper for 34 years. From the laidback days of the 1970s to the hustle and bustle of today’s UAE, Rabbani has seen it all.
“After I joined Dubai Police, I saw all the changes that the UAE went through. Things started changing gradually and over time many improvements took place,” he said.
Hailing from the Pakistani city of Sialkot, Rabbani told Gulf News that even though his hometown was a lush green land, moving to the UAE was not a difficult transition.
“I would go to work early in the morning and come back at the end of the day. We would then shower, relax and then go outside for the evening. Because I had a few friends in the UAE, we would all sit together in the evening and spend hours talking,” he said.
Rabbani has been a dedicated UAE resident ever since he reached the country – in over 46 years of driving, he does not have a single traffic violation. This clean record also extends to his work life - for 10 years in a row, he did not take a single medical leave from work.
His secret? A disciplined lifestyle and always prioritising safety. He is also a stickler for rules.
“I am very keen about rules and regulations. I wake up every morning and exercise. Most of my colleagues meet me and ask me what I eat because they say I haven’t aged,” he said.
For driving, Rabbani advised residents to keep the phone away to stay safe.
“I never use the phone and always keep a safe distance. Even if I do get a call, I stop on the side and take it. People should think about it – your life is not worth the few minutes you will save by taking the call while driving. Save yourself and others. I’m sorry to say but so many people who come to the UAE are young blood and they sometimes cut across on the road unnecessarily. Just stay patient. You cannot risk your life for just a few minutes,” he said.
A life well-spent
His work first in the administration department and then in the supplies and services department meant he interacted with almost every employee of Dubai Police. He said that this was, perhaps, the most memorable part of his tenure.
“Whether it was the commander or the administration staff, no matter who it was, they would interact with me for work and depended on me for many tasks,” he said.
Looking at all the appreciation certificates he had received over the years, Rabbani said that he was very proud of the life he had spent in the UAE.
“It is God who controls everything but this country developed so much in this time and they are still continuing to develop. I would tell people who come to the UAE, work for the country with all your heart and soul. This country has given a lot to people. Wherever you go, work with sincerity and hard work.”