Mariya Kassem, owner of Soiree
I was born in Pakistan where my family's business is textiles.I moved to Dubai in 1994, went to the American school before studying in Europe and North America. When I came back to Dubai, I started working as a consultant for the United Nationsuntil I had this idea and everything fell into place.
Soiree is the first Pakistani multi-brand store. It feels like I am doing something positive for the country. It's giving Pakistani designers a whole new platform. Pakistani fashion has reached London, New York, Italy, Paris and it just wasn't in Dubai, and unless you're from Pakistan then access to the country was difficult. The kind of designs we have in Soiree are very different from other clothing sold in Dubai.
I come from a family of entrepreneurs and that helped me, as well as the fact that a lot of my friends are in fashion. When you start your own business it's your baby and you put in a lot of hard work to achieve what you want to.
Pakistan means a lot to me. I grew up there. Our culture isset around weddings and family gatherings where people loveto dress up, so we've grown up wearing these clothes.
I would like to hold a charity event to support charities in Pakistan. I want to support my country in terms of health careand education. I also try and include up-and-coming designersfrom Pakistan in the boutique. The three I picked to profile last year have all done very well. I want to keep growing, adding to the designer portfolio. I will be sourcing from Karachi and Lahore designers in the future... I want to give everyone a chance.
Dr Ikramullah Al Nasir, specialist dermatologistand medical director of Dermacare Skin Centre
I was born in Sargodha and studied there until the age of ten. I've been living outside of Pakistan now for the past 22 years, mainly living in the Middle East during that time. Twelve years ago I came to Dubai and joined Welcare Hospital as head of Dermatology, but for the past ten years I have been working at Dermacare as well as doing some consultation work for the American Hospital.
Life has been very kind in blessing me with success above my expectations. My wife also deserves acknowledgement in her tireless efforts in supporting me.
I became a doctor not for the money, but because of the nobility of the profession. If you are a passionate doctor then money will come anyway. I dedicate my success to my patients.
One of my biggest inspirations is my father, who was one of the great Islamic scholars. Honesty was one of his biggest strengths, and I think perhaps I have acquired this trait. It's important to not turn a blind eye to the truth because the truth will not change. This is something the present generation of Pakistan has to learn. Don't live in a dream world which is far from reality, escapism is not good for our country.
Those Pakistanis who are lucky enough to find themselves in a privileged social position should use this to help the common man, rather than detach themselves. If you have an opportunity to reach out to people and use the benefits you have to alleviate depression and deprivation then I think this is what will be the catalyst for an unstoppable revolution.
We should be very proud to be Pakistani. If you're not proud of what you are, you can't use it to positive ends.
Tanvir Ul-Islam Khawaja, managing directorand owner of Arabian Air Travel Agencies
I'm originally from Lahore, and arrived in the UAE 32 years ago. I started Arabian Air Travel Agencies, a small travel agency in 1979. We now have six offices in the UAE and are fairly successful. I look after the general operations. I am also on the board of directors for the Pakistan Business Council in Dubai.
I believe that success comes from dedication to your job, consistency, honesty and providing the best possible service. I've been inspired by lots of people along the way, whether it's by fellow students when I was studying or by business acquaintances. I believe very strongly in giving back to the Pakistani community. I was very active between 1988 and 1966 as president for the Pakistan Business Council. I was also on the board of governors for the overseas Pakistani foundation.
After the 2005 Kashmir earthquake, I was the chief organiser of the UAE committee to provide aid to the area. Thanks to my position, I was able to charter aircrafts full of medicine. It was the biggest drive here in terms of cash collections. I believe it's important to do your best.