Pakistani expats in Dubai
Some estimates put the number of Pakistanis in Dubai at 700,000. We talk to three about life in Dubai 53 Comments
Maryam Khan, 33, stay-at-home mother
My father was an ambassador to Pakistan so I travelled all over the world when I was growing up. In a sense, then, I’ve never really lived in Pakistan – I met my husband in Romania! – although I feel deeply connected to the place. Not only do I visit often, but all of our extended family is there and all of our siblings married into families that are deeply rooted in Pakistan. And because it was my father’s job to represent our home country, Pakistan was always the focal point for us.
We’ve been in Dubai for four years. We came here from New York, where my husband worked as an investment banker. I think because I’ve been exposed to so many different kinds of people in my life and lived in so many different places, it’s been very easy to adjust to a city as multicultural as Dubai.
We live in Jumeirah, where I stay at home to raise our two children. We have a lot of Pakistani friends here, people who were actually friends from high school, who did their thing after college and are somehow here in Dubai. This city is attracting people from everywhere, but I would say especially from Pakistan. That we should find ourselves here with friends that we made over the course of our lives is really nice, although the circumstances that have made so many people want to leave are upsetting – unfortunately the political climate at home at the moment is so bad.
There is good Pakistani food available in Dubai – even if there is a derth of restaurants where you can actually go and sit down and eat it; most of them are like cafés. Still, we eat a lot of Pakistani food – we order it in or our cook makes it at home and I help. I only cook Pakistani food because it’s the only food I know how to prepare properly. As for shops, there are a couple of good Pakistani boutiques here – FNK Asia, near Lamcy Plaza, and the Designer’s Lounge are my favourites.
There’s nothing that I really miss from home here, except family, of course. I think my answer would have been different if you’d interviewed me in New York because I was so far away from Pakistan that there was a lot that I missed – domestic staff and family and even some hot weather! Here now, we have all the other amenities – even more than we did at home. Life in Dubai is very good for us.
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