DUBAI // It has been a tradition that has gone on in Dubai on August 14 for more than three decades.
On the morning of Pakistan Independence Day each year, the owner of Ravi Restaurant puts on a lavish free breakfast at the Pakistani Consulate for 500 members of the community.
Despite their humble appearance, the restaurant chain is extremely popular, with patrons of all nationalities frequenting the three branches to enjoy the delicious Mughlai-Pakistani food.
Its owner, Chaudary Abdul Hameed, has provided the meal to mark Independence Day for the last 35 years.
According to him, this is the least he can do to show his gratitude to the UAE and his own countrymen.
“This party is not from my side only. It is from everyone in the Pakistan community. I just represent them,” he said.
Mr Hameed, who is popularly known as Chaudary Sahib, arrived in the UAE on January 1, 1970 from Wazir-Abad, in Punjab province of Pakistan.
Since then he never looked back.
“This is my home now. I have not visited my village since the last eight years. I don’t feel like going. I feel more peaceful and happy here,” he said.
He started his life in the UAE as a labourer, earning only Dh250 a month.
“I am grateful to the UAE. It has given so much love and respect to an ordinary labourer like me,” he said.
“I have seen hard times in life and I know the importance of good food in the lives of these hardworking people here. That’s why I make sure no one should feel left out especially when we are celebrating our National Day,” he added.
He urged his countrymen to respect and love the UAE.
“This country has given all of us a lot. It provides bread and butter to our families here and back home and has given us so much that we couldn’t dream in our homes back there. This place has special blessings from Allah,” he said.
He is, however, concerned the present civil unrest in his home country.
“It is such a beautiful country and I don’t know what goes wrong. I pray for things to improve in Pakistan,” he said.