DUBAI — Pakistan Appeal, a star-studded gala dinner organised in Dubai to help the flood victims of Pakistan, raised more than $1 million at Armani Hotel, Burj Khalifa, in Dubai.

Imran Khan. Photo:
Imran Khan. Photo:

The proceeds of the evening will be donated to the UNICEF to benefit those in need, according to the organisers, Quintessentially. The event was supported by the United Nations and the UNICEF.

Shaikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, donated Dh1 million to the cause and spoke about the UAE-Pakistan relations and the plight of the flood victims.

“The brotherhood and trust that exist between the UAE and Pakistan explains the depth of our relationship. We share a common heritage and culture,” Shaikh Nahyan said in his opening address.

“I am confident that the relations between the UAE and Pakistan are vibrant and strong will continue to grow, prosper and expand, moving forward for a compassionate world,” he said.

Shaikh Nahyan said that those doing business in Pakistan are greatly inspired by their good work and collaboration. He said that last year’s floods that brought one-fifth of country under water changed the lives of the people and many struggled to find food, water and shelter.

“In dealing with the flood calamity that came after the devastating earthquake, Pakistani people have shown the strength of their character. We draw courage and inspiration from the people of Pakistan,” Shaikh Nahyan said while praising the role of the Pakistan government and the Armed Forces.

“We consider our duty and responsibility to join you (the fund raisers). For the UAE, Pakistan is a special country. I pledge our (UAE) strong solidarity and strong support for Pakistan,” he said.

Former Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz donated $100,000 on behalf of his friends. He thanked the UAE for its generosity and support as well as the UN family. He stressed that Pakistan needs to implement the advice of unity, faith, and discipline given by the nation’s founder Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah Arif Naqvi, COO of Abraaj Capital, said, “We are here for a compassionate cause. Our actions can be of betterment to others.”

Former cricketer Imran Khan’s gold-plated and autographed bat, was auctioned for Dh70,000. Other items auctioned at the dinner also fetched handsome amounts. He said that Pakistanis showed their brilliant side and came together to help the flood victims. “I set up the Imran Khan Foundation, which has raised substantial amount of funds in a short time. We have selected the villages that we will fully rehabilitate with modern facilities,” Imran said.

Pakistan Ambassador Jamil Ahmed Khan praised the UAE for its solidarity and for being one of the first countries to help the flood victims. He also praised Turkey for its support.

Engin Soysal, UN Special Envoy for Assistance to Pakistan, dealt with the scale of the tragedy and the UN response as a whole. UNICEF Country Head in Pakistan made a presentation on the disaster and relief efforts.

The evening rounded off with a raffle draw and a live concert by Meekal Hasan Band. —