[Tajamul Pasha, 48, from Bengaluru in India and Nihal Zafar, 50, from Karachi in Pakistan joined hands when they shared their common pledge to help the needy people. (Photo: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News)]
Abu Dhabi: Inspired by a Palestinian man, two friends - one from India and the other from Pakistan, are distributing free Ramadan Iftar meals daily to 400 workers in Abu Dhabi since last eight years, local media reported Thursday.
Tajamul Pasha, 48, from Bengaluru in India and Nihal Zafar, 50, from Karachi in Pakistan both came to Abu Dhabi as employees in IT sector several years ago, established their own businesses in the same field, achieved financial prosperity beyond expectations and wanted to give back to the community, Gulf News reported.
“After reaching here in 1999, one day I noticed an old Palestinian man offering free iftar meals to many people. While queuing up to accept food from him, I pledged that one day, I, too would do the same,” Pasha, the Indian, told Gulf News.
Pasha said then there was no way he could materialise his pledge as he was just earning Dh3,500 per month as an employee. “If you make a pledge sincerely and wholeheartedly, God will find a way. This is my experience,” he said.
Four years later, he started his own business in 2003 and still running it successfully. In 2004, Pasha met his Pakistani friend, Zafar, who too shared his dream to help others.
Once Zafar and his Pakistani friends were arranging iftar meals at a mosque in Liwa area, off Hamdan Street, and Pasha joined them with his contribution of 15 cartons of juice.
Discussions about similar initiatives led to the joint effort to distribute free meals daily during Ramadan, which was started eight years ago at the rooftop of a public car parking structure in Liwa area where the Palestinian man also offers his meals.
They said they spend between Dh1,500 and Dh2,000 every day to arrange chicken biryani, juice, water, dates, and watermelon. “And some days, we offer samosa and pagoda also. On week days, around 400 people turn up, which goes up to 700 on Thursday and Friday,” Zafar said.
The initiative has attracted around 18 volunteers — Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis — who turn up by 6pm to help the duo. “Ours is a friendship beyond borders. We don’t bother about one’s identity. Many non-Muslim workers also come and have food and we are happy about it,” Pasha said.