07/19/2009 11:10 PM | By Ashfaq Ahmed, Chief Reporter
Dubai: The Pakistan Association in Dubai is finally set to resume construction of its building. Construction has been on hold for more than two decades due to lack of funds and infighting between community groups.
"We are very happy to announce that we will resume the construction of the multi-purpose hall which was stopped about two decades ago due to lack of funds," said Riaz Farooq, president of the Pakistan Association in Dubai.
He said the construction would start on August 14 - Pakistan's Independence Day. The first phase will be completed on March 23 next year - the date marked as Pakistan Day.
"It is a dream come true for all of us," Farooq said.
The total cost of the project has fallen to Dh20 million from Dh24 million estimated earlier.
The project has been divided into three phases. The first phase includes the construction of a multi-purpose hall and a library building at the cost of Dh5 million.
The second phase will include the construction of a banquet hall, association offices and a food court. The third phase will include the construction of a new mosque and 20-room accommodation for guests. The building will have parking for about 175 cars.
"We urge the community members to come forward and help us construct this facility," Farooq said.
He said they expected to get 75 per cent of the Dh5 million for the first phase from the government of Pakistan as it was promised by Ambassador of Pakistan Khursheed Ahmad Junejo.
"We have requested the government to fulfil its promises," he said.
He added that some leading businessmen and even the Pakistani missions had offered to provide the majority of the funds for the construction of the new building.
Earlier, Junejo had criticised the Pakistani business community for not helping the association build its new building.
"They told me in the meetings about their investments of billions of dirhams but it is unfortunate that they did not play their role in the community projects. They should come forward and pool their resources to construct a new building befitting Dubai's modern lifestyle," he said.
The existing building of the Pakistan Association on Oud Metha Road in Dubai is in a dilapidated state and hardly offers any facilities to its members.
Currently, there are no facilities such as games, restaurants or coffee shop for the association's members. Families avoid visiting the place because there is no entertainment for children and no areas to sit and talk.
"We will turn it into place for families... as we are working on plans to introduce games, educational programmes, [a] food court, library, health centre and a number of other facilities for the community," Farooq said.
The association's welfare committee has been quite active in providing help to the poor and deserving community members.
Successive governing bodies have been promising to build a multi-purpose hall.
However, the construction of the multi-purpose hall started about two decades ago but was never completed due to lack of funds, infighting among groups and lack of cooperation.
"We promised to build the building and we will use our means to complete the project," Farooq said.