Sharjah: A Pakistani family in Sharjah are desperate for help after they had to move out their apartment over unpaid rents.
Nadia Malik, her mother, 54, and sister, 22, were staying at an apartment in Al Majaz for Dh2,500 a month on a sublease. But they were not able to pay the rent for three months.
Her husband, Mohammad Atiq, earns Dh2,000 a month as an industrial plant employee in Al Ain and splits his time between Al Ain and Sharjah.
Malik, 37, had lost her sales job in 2018 and did temporary tasks to help make ends meet. However, the couple could not manage the rent for three months and the family was recently asked to leave.
Atiq, 25, took time off to cope with the crisis and the family initially spent some nights at friends’ places. However, they were asked to move on and now have nowhere left to go.
“We spent some nights in the lobbies of buildings and hospitals after requesting security. During the day, we sit on public benches or seats in malls or parks,” said Atiq, who re-joined work in Al Ain this week.
Fighting back tears, Malik said: “I cannot bear to see my mother and sister like this. My mother has a bad knee and my sister has a slipped disk in her back; they cannot wander around with bags like me and my husband.”
Atiq owes Dh5,000 in unpaid rent (after discount) and Malik’s visa overstay fines has crossed Dh22,000 since they last checked almost two months ago.
“I had given a Dh5,000 post-dated cheque against the unpaid rent, which has bounced. I’m living in fear of legal action. My salary alone isn’t enough for all of us, what happens if I’m gone,” said Atiq, who is from Gojra city in Pakistan’s Punjab province.
Malik said she received job offers but her overstay fines prevented employers from hiring her.
“Our immediate need is for a roof over our head to preserve our dignity. If my fines were cleared, I could get a job again and help my family resume an honourable life,” she added.
Atiq said he and his wife applied to charity organisations and associations. “One association gave us a Dh300 grocery voucher,” said Malik, who is from Sialkot, also in Punjab.
“If we had to tackle one challenge at a time, maybe we could find a way out. But we’re surrounded by many setbacks, which have come at the same time. We have no home, barely any cash, my in-laws have health issues, there are fines on my wife’s visa, my rent security cheque bounced and I lost Dh13,000 in a loan to someone who didn’t pay me back,” Atiq claimed.
“We could do with any help that comes our way,” he added.