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Iqbal Dawood (second from left) and Ghulam Dastgir (second from right) at the Metropolitan Hotel Dubai Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Dubai: Pakistan Community Welfare School in Mussafah is at the verge of closure due to lack of funds, putting the future of some 450 under-privileged students at stake, said a senior diplomat.

“We are having tough times to run Pakistan Welfare Community School as the school is facing deficit of Dh 1.1 million and we cannot run it without the help of the community,” said Pakistan Ambassador Ghulam Dastgir.

He asked the Pakistani community especially the businessmen to come forward to save the school. He said the running cost of the school was Dh2.2 million but its revenue was around Dh1.1 million, with no other means but donations to run the school.

Ambassador Dastgir was speaking at a reception hosted in his honour on Monday by the Pakistan Business Council in Dubai. Ahmed Amjad Ali, Consul General of Pakistan and some leading Pakistani businessmen attended the event. Dastgir said that the Embassy also spent Dh1million to help the under privileged people especially to pay fees for the poor children and air-tickets for prisoners.

He said that the school cannot increase the fee because it was ranked weak by the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK) in its las inspection. The school charges only Dh2200 fee per year.

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Ghulam Dastgir Pakistan Ambassador to the UAE. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Community has rallied behind the school to a number of times in the past to raise funds to salvage the school but no permanent solution has been found yet.

Pakistan community welfare school was founded in 1981. The land of the school had been leased by the Municipality of Abu Dhabi under the directives Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan as a special token of his compassion to the Pakistani community.

Initially the school was operated in caravans and was supervised by a committee formed by the community but later it shifted to Musaffah in 1996 and Pakistan Embassy took charge of its affairs. The current building of the school was built in 2010. The school has the capacity to educate almost 500 students from Kindergarten (KG) to Grade – 8. Some 94 per cent of students are Pakistanis, five per cent are Afghanis and one per cent from other nationalities. All of them belong to low-income group of people and many even do not afford to pay fee.

Expo 2020

About Pakistan’s participation in the Expo 2020 in Dubai, Ambassador Dastgir said that plans to build the Pakistani pavilion at the Expo 2020 are being finalised. “Trading Development Authority in Pakistan (TDAP) is supervising the project and more details will be announced soon,” he added.

Ambassador, however, urged the Pakistani business community to join hands with the Pakistan government to fund the project. “The initially tendering cost of the pavilion is US$15million whereas the total cost will be US$21million,” he said.

Speaking at the event, Iqbal Dawood, president of the Pakistan Business Council (PBC) assured all possible help to the Pakistan Embassy in carrying out its projects for the community. He said that PBC would continue to improve trade relations between Pakistan and the UAE.