A Pakistani singer and actor who flew around the world solo has told of his pride at receiving the UAE's golden visa.
Fakhr-e-Alam, who has lived in Dubai for 17 years, was handed the 10-year UAE residence visa on Sunday. He can also sponsor his wife and children.
The 45-year-old - popular for pioneering bhangra-rap music - told The National said he was thrilled to be regarded an ambassador of his country.
“The UAE has given me opportunities that I could have not imagined having back home, in terms of access to global markets, because I'm also an entrepreneur and a businessman,” he said.
“I was super happy that the UAE has recognised my work – not just acting in movies, or television and presenting and music, but also the fact that I became the first Pakistani to fly around the world in a single-engine airplane.”
Since moving to Dubai, Mr Alam has successfully started a maintenance company and a fashion business.
He flew around the world in 2018 as part of the ‘Mission Parwaaz', which means ‘mission fly’.
His trip took him to airports in 22 countries, including the UAE, Pakistan, Russia, UK and Iceland.
Mr Alam said he always tried to be an ambassador of his country.
“I believe that we represent Pakistan and that we are ambassadors of Pakistan wherever we are. It doesn’t matter what line of work you’re in,” he said.
“I’ve always tried to inspire young people and tell them that they are representing our country, so it’s very important that we become positive role models."
Mr Alam said it was sad that most news coverage about Pakistan was negative.
"I believe that there are a lot of outstanding Pakistanis all around the world," he said.
“We're not just in the UAE – I have a lot of Pakistani friends who have made Silicon Valley their home and friends in Palo Alto who are doing some phenomenal work in the world of technology.”
Mr Alam said his wife and children were proud of him and they would be celebrating soon.
He said the decade-long visa would help with business planning and other life goals.
“It’s a special thing for us. We're used to renewing our residencies every three years and we've gone through the process over and over again,” he said.
“But, now we're done until 2031. Now, all of a sudden, you start planning long-term things. I can commit to more things now.”