There’s no denying the tense relationship between Indian and Pakistani, but we’ve also seen numerous examples of Indians and Pakistanis coming together to make a strong case for harmony between the two countries and their citizens. Well, as devout Muslims around the world observe the holy month of Ramadan (also Ramzan) by observing roza, or fast, an Indian and Pakistani duo has been reportedly been offering free iftaar meals to more than 400 workers every day for during Ramadan for the past eight years.
Accoring to a Gulf News report, Tajamul Pasha (48) from Bengaluru in India and Nihal Zafar (50) from Karachi in Pakistan met in 2004, when they decided to do something together to help needy people. Both of them had gone to UAE as IT sector workers and then eventually became business owners, doing quite well financially. But it wasn’t till much later that they met, and their mutual desire to give back to society strengthened their friendship. “After reaching here in 1999, one day I noticed an old Palestinian man offering free iftaar meals to many people. While queuing up to accept food from him, I pledged that one day, I, too would do the same,” Pasha told Gulf News, referring to 69-year-old Nazmi Mohammad Mahmoud, who has been offering free iftaar meals to people for 22 years in memory of his son who had died in a car crash in 1996.
Pasha went on to start his business in 2003, and a year later he met Zafar. Once when Zafar and his Pakistani friends were arranging iftar meals at a mosque, Pasha decided to join them and contributed 15 cartons of juice. That led to conversations on taking on similar initiatives and the two joined hands at the time. “I wanted to give back to this nation and society. This is my humble contribution,” Zafar told Gulf News about the initiative.
They apparently spend Dh1,500-2,000 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. Now, the initiative has 18 volunteers from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Reportedly, last year a group of Sikhs from a gurudwara came by and offered juice with them.