Junaid Rana
Junaid Rana, 36, from Pakistan (middle), is the winner of the Dh50 million grand prize from Mahzooz, said to be the biggest prize in the Middle East. Seen here on Monday with his brother Yaser (left) and Farid Samji (right), CEO of Ewings LLC, operator of Mahzooz. Image Credit: Angel Tesorero/Gulf News

Dubai: Dubai-based Junaid Rana, 36, from Pakistan, has been revealed as the winner of the Dh50 million grand prize from Mahzooz draw, said to be the biggest such prize in the Middle East.

Rana is a corporate driver who earns Dh6,000 per month.

A day after his fortunes changed with Sunday’s announcement of the grand prize, Rana on Monday told reporters in Dubai that he plans to “lead a simple life”.

Prayer answered

Rana has a four-year-old son and two-year-old daughter. His wife is currently back home in Pakistan and the couple are expecting their third child – a girl – whom they have already name Dua, which means 'Prayer'.

Rana said she has been named Dua because “she is our prayer that has been answered”.

Rana plans to build a home for the family in the UAE and in Pakistan.

He also wants to buy a Nissan GT-R supercar, one each for himself and for his brother Yaser.

‘Series of fortunate events’

Rana described a series of fortunate events that paved the way to his life-changing win.

“I usually participate in Mahzooz when my salary is credited. This month, my salary was delayed due to a public holiday and was credited on the day of the draw,” he said.

On Saturday evening, instead of stepping out of his car to withdraw money from the ATM for a grocery run, Rana stayed in his car, opened the Mahzooz app and participated on a whim:.

“An inner voice told me Mahzooz was a better investment than snacks. I clicked on six random numbers two hours before the draw’s cut-off.”

The winning numbers that saw Rana wake up a millionaire the next day were 6, 11, 21, 32, 33, 46. “I felt like the ground had fallen out from under my feet when I discovered I had won,” Rana said.

‘Sponsoring my barber’s wedding’

Although the long-time Mahzooz participant has spent every single day of the last 11 months daydreaming about what he would do if he won millions, his first day as a millionaire was like any other. “The only unusual thing I did was offering to sponsor my barber’s wedding when I went to get a haircut,” he said.

Rough childhood

Rana’s generosity can be traced back to his childhood, which had been riddled with financial hardships. “My dad’s small embroidery and tailoring business barely covered my siblings’ and my school fees. I dropped out after ninth grade and did odd promotion and sales job to support him.”

Rana added: “We moved back to Pakistan where he passed away due to kidney failure when I was 18. Maybe, help from someone could have saved my father’s life.”

Building homes for family

Besides helping strangers, Rana plans to pay off some loans and build houses in Pakistan for each one of his four siblings with his prize money.

“My greatest dream has always been to build a sprawling mansion where all my siblings and their families and my family can live together with our mother. But now, thanks to Mahzooz, my dream has evolved because I can afford it. Because of Mahzooz I’m able to piece together my scattered, broken dreams and shape them into a wonderful new reality,” Rana said.

Even before acquiring his new million-dirham wealth, Rana would pay anonymously for meals of fellow diners who are blue-collar workers.

Entrants can participate in Mahzooz by registering on the Mahzooz website and purchasing a bottle of water for Dh35. The next weekly live draw will be held on Saturday, October 30, at 9pm UAE time.