Dubai: A debt-stricken veteran Indian expat living in the UAE for 40 years wants to return home as he is in dire financial straits and facing a period of ill health.
Mirza Rafeeq Ahmed Baig, who turns 71 on Monday (January 6, 2020), is desperate to go home and be with his loved ones, considering his failing health.
Baig had multiple organ failure. His heart is weak and he recently suffered heart failure.
Speaking to Gulf News, Baig said he came to the UAE in 1949.
First job in the UAE
He came for a job as an auto mechanic and electrician. “Life was hard back home and I just needed to get away from India in order to make some money and save. And so I took up the job.”
Baig soon switched jobs and joined Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (SEWA), where he worked for 27 years.
In 1998, Baig decided to start his own business, in pre-press and advertising. At first, the business was going well. But later, in 2014, his business went bust and Baig started to face mounting bills and piled up debt.
“All my business came to zero. Slowly my health also started deteriorating. My life took a complete downturn.”
Sold his property, but still owes Dh1 million
“I could not pay my staff. Through the years I had worked in the UAE, I had saved some money and built a house and bought a piece of land. I had to sell all that in order to repay my debt.”
But that was still not enough, as Baig still has a debt of a million dirhams.
Besides being deep in debt, his health does not permit him to be productive. He has, in fact, been bed-ridden for a long time at the hospital.
Earlier, Baig brought his son to help him run his business. But his son is also out of work, following his [Baig’s] company shutting down.
“Added to this, all my staff who I could not pay salaries, filed a case against me at the Ministry of Labour. The Court also came and sealed my company down. My conscience did not permit me to run away from all this and leave my staff in the lurch.
"And so one day I surrendered to the local police station and even served two years jail term. But I still have the civil cases pending,” explained Baig.
“I don’t know how many years I have left in this world. I just wish to leave this world with my loved ones by my side. What can I say, my life has been miserable. But I just want peace and my family beside me in the last few years I have left.”