Port Qasim Versus Dubai

Karachi To Dubai

Dubai Old Days

During those early days of 1979, this place looked like a desert with sand dunes everywhere. And sand dunes were so fine that these would blow in air and keep drifting and changing places with strong current of winds, to the extent that the only road built at that time would often fall under the heap of sand dunes, which was needed to be cleared regularly through a grader deployed all the time for road clearance. This place wore a semblance of deserts of middle east and Dubai. I had written an article which was published in the newspaper daily “Dawn”. In this article I had narrated a story of a man from Lyari who wanted to go to Dubai. The relevant portion of that article is reproduced below;

Karachi to Dubai

“In early seventies, a kind of euphoria of rushing towards middle eastern countries had developed into feverish desire and lust for earning dollars to become rich overnight. People from all walks of life including a young innocent man from Lyari, a suburb of Karachi, would dream of moving to some Arab country for making fortunes. This man approached some local agent, greased his palm and one fine morning the so-called agent huddled him along with a few others into a launch which sailed through creeks of Karachi waters for the entire dark night and anchored at early dawn with the passengers having been informed that they had safely reached some place near Dubai, and that they should sneak carefully into the city to join the chorus.

Dubai as a Name

With mixed feelings of joy and fear of being caught, this young man walked past the sand dunes and tried to speak a little bit of Arabic that he had learnt. To his utter surprise he discovered that he was well and safe in his own country and was at a place to be known in future as port Qasim. Such was the similarity between the sand dunes of port Qasim and the then Dubai. And such was the fortune of this young man who got a job of a driver in port Qasim. He was popularly known as Dubai by all and sundry and very few people knew his actual name.”

Our Driver Named Dubai

The management had provided transport to all employees and officers to commute between their residence and office. A Toyota van carrying about eight persons was allocated to those of us residing in north Nazimabad area. Although it was a tiring journey of about an hour up and down daily, but with the company of friends it was more of a fun than fatigue. We used to chat and indulge in unending gossips and the excitement of this interlude was so high that we would literally miss it on holidays. Dubai was the driver of our van.  

Karachi To Dubai

Job for Dubai

He was notoriously famous for his saga of going to Dubai, and landing in the creeks of port Qasim where he was ambushed by a team of hydrographers who were surveying that area. Dubai was a lively character hailing originally from Makran but living in Karachi.  In his typical Makrani dialect he would narrate his story and the way he was fleeced by the travel agent.  But in the end, he would say that he was quite happy with what had happened to him. He didn’t reach Dubai, which was his destination but he reached at a much better place where he was provided with a secure job and he was able to earn sufficient enough while still being in his own country and with his family.

Brother job in Dubai

“My elder brother is in Dubai and I wanted to join him. Somehow, I couldn’t go to Dubai, but I am very well off as compared to my brother who is still languishing there with no future prospects, whereas my future is protected through pension and other fringe benefits even after my retirement”.

He would often say with a wide grin on his face. His failure of not being able to go to Dubai turned out to be a boon for him, and he felt that he was much better off in Pakistan as compared to his brother in Dubai.

Karachi To Dubai

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