My Father-in-law, Muhammad Zia-ur Rehman, came to the UAE in December 1969 before becoming a united nation. He was asked to come from the Pakistani Army to help develop the UAE army. He remembers Sheikh Khalifa being Defense Minister, Shiekh Faisal was a Major, and Mr Humayun Faiz Rasool was the Pakistani Liaison Officer because there was no ambassador to the UAE yet.
He was present for the UAE parade at the Abu Dhabi Corniche the day the first UAE flag was raised, on December 2, 1971. He Brought the Pakistani music band from his regiment to the UAE for this particular parade too!
He remembers attending the Umm Khalthoum performance at the newly built concert hall too.
My father-in-law fondly recalls an incident where he walked with Sheikh Zayed and found some money and returned it to him. In appreciation, Sheikh Zayed gifted him a Rolex watch which we treasure in our family till this day, and my Father-in-law has now passed on to my 9-year-old son to have.
My Mother-in-law, Sultan Fatima, recalls a special day when she and three other top-ranking Pakistani women were invited to the Palace when former Pakistani Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto visited the UAE with his wife, Nusrat Bhutto. The four women were invited by Sheikha Fatima to spend the day with her at the Palace in Abu Dhabi and went on a boat ride and had a delicious lunch, she remembers.
It is now 2021, and my Father-in-Law, who is now 88 years old is still living in the UAE since the day he first came. He calls this country home. My three sons, My husband, included, are all here too; the UAE is home to us.
I have included some photos here, some of which were displayed in Art Dubai this year.
Extremely proud and inspired by his resilience and hard work.