Abu Dhabi: A prominent member of the Pakistani community in Abu Dhabi, sweet maker and one-time professional wrestler Azam Butt passed away in Pakistan last week.
The owner of famous Butt Sweet House in Abu Dhabi was 70 years old, and suffered a cardiac arrest. Speaking to Gulf News, Azam Butt’s eldest son, Azim Butt, 35, said his father had been ailing for a while.
“His heart had been failing for a while, and his lungs had filled with fluid. He had been hospitalised for a few days following discomfort, and doctors had been attempting to normalise his heart rate. But at 3.30am on Tuesday morning, his situation worsened and he passed away,” Azim Butt said. He is survived by his wife, four sons and a daughter.
Butt was famous in Abu Dhabi for his Pakistani sweet shop and confectionery located on Electra Street. He moved to the UAE capital as a professional wrestler in 1976, but eventually began a shop serving the sweets his family is famous for.
“My grandfather and uncles own confectioneries here in Wazirabad, a small city in Punjab province of Pakistan. My father got into the business in Abu Dhabi, opening up a small store on Hamdan Street, and found a loyal customer base,” Azim said.
A few years later, Azam Butt moved the store to its location on Electra Street, where it had operated until its closure in January 2018. Tray upon tray of brightly coloured sweets and pastries lined the shelves of the store, and there was always a customer or two getting themselves a pack of treats.
In fact, the shop’s closure dismayed many Pakistani and Indian residents who had grown up savouring the delicacies Azam Butt served.
“My father had always been extremely hands-on at his shop, and wanted to ensure the best quality products at all times. That is why he and his brother did most of the cooking till the very end, and when his health deteriorated, he chose to wrap things up,” Azim Butt said.
Even then, the sweet shop always had at least two dozen varieties of sweet treats for sale, and sold about 150 kilograms of sweets per day. Its jalebis, gulab jamuns, rasmalai and samosas were some of the most famous.
“My father lived in Abu Dhabi for nearly 50 years, and it was his home. My siblings and I were all born here. But when he fell ill a few years ago, he began to feel very tired and decided to move back to Wazirabad,” Azim Butt said.
Three of Azam Butt’s sons, including Azim Butt — a marketing executive, continue to live in Abu Dhabi. A remaining son and daughter live in Australia.
Long-time Abu Dhabi residents said the end of ‘Butt Sweet House’ had marked the end of an institution in the capital. Despite its fame and popularity, the shop had retained its authenticity and commitment to its roots.
Javed Malik, a former Gulf News distribution manager, said he and Butt had shared a 45-year friendship, including the many years they had both lived in Abu Dhabi.
“Both of us hailed from Wazirabad, and I remember the days when you would drive on dirt roads to get to Butt Sweet House. He was a prominent member of the Pakistani community, helping out community members with free food and donations. He will truly be missed,” Malik said.
“It was the place to go whenever there was an occasion. Even though there were a few other stores serving Pakistani sweets, none could match Butt Sweet House’s authentic Punjabi flavour. I remember it was an emotional moment for the family when the shop closed, and it is sad to hear of Mr Butt’s passing,” added Ahsan Hashmi, 33, a Pakistani project manager who grew up in Abu Dhabi.