Mother’s joy. Zainab’s reunion with Mustafa and Muzammil at Dubai Airport Image Credit: Mazhar Farooqui/XPRESS

DUBAI: Torn between hope and despair Indian divorcee Zainab Fawad, 44, had dreamt of this moment every single day for the past two-and-a-half years. But when it finally came at 7.45am on Friday, December 30, the mother of two couldn’t contain her emotions

As the electronic bulletin board at Terminal 3 of Dubai International Airport, flashed the arrival of Emirates Flight EK 605 from Karachi, Zainab pinched herself to make sure it was all real.

The plane was carrying her four-year-old twin sons Mustafa and Muzammil. The children – both Indian nationals – had been stuck in Pakistan since April 2014 and Zainab had almost given up hopes of seeing them again given the thorny relationships between the two nuclear neighbours and her own desperate situation.

Zainab got separated from the children following a catastrophic turn of events which had not just rendered her homeless and penniless but also landed her in jail for no fault of hers.

On the brink

At one point things came to such a pass that Zainab even contemplated ending her life.

However, a November 16 XPRESS report highlighting her plight changed her fortune almost overnight with hundreds of readers stepping forward to help her with monetary and legal aid.

Within one week the overwhelming support enabled Zainab to straighten out her life and become financially independent. Last weekend, it also helped her reunite with her children.

XPRESS captured the heartwarming moment when Mustafa and Muzammil showed up at the airport’s meet-and-greet area with their grandmother and Zainab dashed down the hallway towards them carrying balloons in her outstretched arms.

“My darlings, my darlings, oh how I missed you!” she exclaimed as she kneeled down and hugged the children in a tight embrace before bursting into tears.

The kids smiled coyly and soon busied themselves with Superman and Spiderman toys that Zainab had brought for them.

Dubai-based Good Samaritans Juhi Yasmin Khan, Waqar and Farhat Ali Khan who had helped Zainab put her horrid past behind her were also there with goodies and chocolates.

“There is no sight more endearing than a mother meeting her kids after a long separation. I will never forget this moment,” said Juhi who later hosted the children at the Friday Market she organises on Rolla Street in association with Dubai-based charitable organisation Dar Al Ber Society.

Orginally from Gujarat, India, Zainab first came to the UAE in 2003 and soon found a job with a Jebel Ali company. It was here she met her would-be husband who was from Pakistan and worked there as production manager.

After a few years of courtship, they went to Pakistan and got married.

In November, 2012, Zainab delivered twins Mustafa and Muzammil in India. A few months later she returned to the UAE with the newborns and started living with her husband. But the bliss was short-lived.

Zainab’s troubles began when she was jailed over bounced cheques issued by a company that her Pakistani husband had set up in her name. After being released, Zainab roughed it out in airport waiting areas for months while her husband flew the kids to Pakistan on a visit visa and later divorced her.

“My life was a wreck and I was losing my sanity. Who would have thought everything would fall in place so quickly. “I have no words to thank all those who rallied behind me in these testing times,” said Zainab in a voice choked with emotions. Without their help, I would have never been able to see my kids,” she said.