Helping Hands: Pakistani breadwinner now in jail after losing father and livelihood

ABU DHABI // In 2004, the fate of a Pakistani family was put in the hands of a 21-year-old sent to the UAE to find work. Following the death of his father, A A had no other choice as he had to earn money to support his mother and younger siblings – two brothers and […]

ABU DHABI // In 2004, the fate of a Pakistani family was put in the hands of a 21-year-old sent to the UAE to find work.

Following the death of his father, A A had no other choice as he had to earn money to support his mother and younger siblings – two brothers and three sisters.

With the responsibility for his family now on his shoulders, he took a job with a construction company in Sharjah.

“He worked hard and was promoted quickly,” says A A’s best friend.

“He earned Dh1,500 a month and while many might think that this isn’t much, it was a fortune to his family back home.”

After receiving a promotion, A A’s new position required a lot of commuting.

He then successfully studied for his driver’s licence and applied for a car loan.

In 2009, however, A A was fired following a misunderstanding with the management at his company.

The friend says A A continued to work to pay off his car loan and support his family but, in 2012, during the financial crisis, it became difficult to find work.

A A then defaulted on his car payments and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

About the same time, his mother’s health deteriorated and she suffered two strokes. A A wanted to go home.

“Friends told him that if he handed himself in to the police that they wouldn’t arrest him because the bank had already repossessed the car,” says his friend.

A A did not realise that he owed the bank Dh108,000 and was sent to prison in September. The fate of his family was in jeopardy.

“I’ve given 12 years of my life to this country. I know I shouldn’t have taken that loan but I never thought this would happen to me,” says A A from prison.

“Every day in prison is torture, not because I’m in jail but because I’m worried about my family. I am all they have.”

He fears that his mother will die without him having a chance to say goodbye. If he doesn’t pay the court Dh50,000, he will stay in prison for another three years.

“I want to get out to work and help my family. I don’t want to be deported. If I’m sent back to Pakistan I will not find a job and it will be like being in prison there. I’ll be useless. The UAE gave me an opportunity to support them. I beg them to give me this again,” he says.

Hisham Al Zahrani, manager of zakat and social services at Dar Al Ber, says the money most labourers send home supports an entire household.

“By helping this man you will have also helped six others and transformed their entire lives to the better. His mother was also told by doctors she doesn’t have long to live. We hope we can help him see her before its too late.”

salnuwais@thenational.ae

Source: uae news

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