At least we are not Dubai

Published: April 21, 2010
George Fulton is a freelance broadcast and print journalist.

George Fulton is a freelance broadcast and print journalist.

We haven’t got a lot to be thankful for these days in Pakistan.

But at least we are not Dubai.

Fed up with loadshedding, bombs, and TV cynicism pervading Pakistan, I recently escaped to Dubai for a holiday. Big mistake. Huge. Ten days later I returned, gasping for Karachi’s polluted, but far sweeter, air. Dubai may have the world’s tallest building and the world’s largest shopping mall, but it also has the world’s tiniest soul. It’s a plastic city built in steel and glass.

It has imported all the worst aspects of western culture (excessive consumption, environmental defilement) without importing any of its benefits (democracy, art). This is a city designed for instant gratification a hedonistic paradise for gluttons to indulge in fast food, fast living and fast women. It’s Las Vegas in a dish dash. You want to eat a gold leaf date? Munch away.

You want to drink a Dhs 3,000 bottle of champagne? Bottoms up. You want a UN selection of hookers at your fingertips? Tres bien. Let’s start with the malls. These cathedrals of capitalism, these mosques of materialism are mausoleums of the living dead. Slack jawed zombies roam around consuming food, clothes and electronics in a desperate attempt to fill the emptiness of their existence.

Whilst at the Mall of the Emirates the azan goes off. Nobody appears to move to the prayer room; everyone’s too busy performing sajda before Stella McCartney, genuflecting before Gucci, and prostrating themselves at Prada. With Dubai, one recalls F Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.

The people are modern day Gatsbys, buying shirts that they will never wear and books they will never read. Like Fitzgerald’s roaring 20s America, Dubai is a moral failure a society obsessed with wealth and status. Everyone is trying to keep up with the Jones’ or the Javaids. You see the goras with their perma-tans, streaked highlights and their flabby cleavages.

The upwardly mobile South Asian man prances around wearing a silly shirt with a large picture of a polo player on a horse, whilst their women wear oversized sunglasses and carry oversized handbags. And the Arabs walk about with enough gold bling to blind you at ten paces. But not everything that glitters is gold. And Dubai is not only morally bankrupt it is also financially bankrupt.

Lately, Dubai, and its ruler, Sheikh Mohammed Al-Maktoum have been compared to another piece of literature — Percy Shelley’s famous poem Ozymandias, which illustrates the inevitable decline of all leaders and the empires they build. Shelley finishes it thus: Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair! Nothing beside remains.

Round the decay Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare The lone and level sands stretch far away With $80b of debt and a stock and property market that has tanked, the comparisons with Ozymandias are apt. Abu Dhabi may have bailed them out but can Dubai survive as a regional hub in the long-term? Or will this city of hubris built on sand and folly sink back into the dunes a desert mirage that evaporates once the public relations people, the speculators and the tourists disappear?

So for all you naysayers that bemoan Pakistan and its numerous problems please temper your pessimism. Take time to celebrate our cultural, religious, linguistic plurality and richness. Stop the cynicism coursing through your corroded veins. For all its inadequacies, at least we have a democracy.

For all its irresponsibility, at least we have a robust media. For all the police corruption, at least we are not a police state. For all our littering, at least we have paper wallahs. Remind yourself that at least we have a heart. At least we have a soul. At least we are not Dubai.

Read Conor Purcel’s rebuttal, “At least we are Dubai”.

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Reader Comments (356)

  • Apr 21, 2010 - 3:19AM

    Thumbs up! Our love affair with Dubai and the wider middle east is based on a mirage. The Middle East is where the glaring inequalities of South Asian societies is magnified and intensified. Its ironic that Dubai is second home to most of our political rulers who have no qualms encouraging migrant workers to set off to the “greener pastures” of construction sites and menial jobs across the region. The abhorred conditions that these people, our fellow citizens have to face is shameful. Instead, we idolize Dubai as an ideal state, pre-wedding shopping or post exam holiday making its where our mobile elites play petty fashionistas. The sorry state of migrant workers is well documented. The Dubai authorities do not allow journalists unfettered access to the labour camps. Their passports are seized, 400 workers share one toilet, over 15 human beings live in one room. Many are today stranded as the companies they worked for folded, there legal documents gone with them.

    Rightly, Dubai has imported the worst of Western society and built it with the hands of exploited migrant workers. Recommend

  • dr_aur_billah
    Apr 21, 2010 - 4:08AM

    haha nicely put, Mr Fulton, particularly good spot of the recent desi obsession with the ‘barra ghora’ polo-shirt (not to be confused with the chotay ghorri wali polo shirt). though i have to say, dubai reminds one most of grass’ tin drum :)Recommend

  • Apr 21, 2010 - 5:16AM


    generally well said but here i will take a minor exception:

    > For all its irresponsibility, at least
    > we have a robust media. **For all the
    > police corruption, at least we are not
    > a police state.** For all our littering,
    > at least we have paper wallahs. Remind
    > yourself that at least we have a
    > heart. At least we have a soul. At
    > least we are not Dubai.

    in some instances we are worse…Recommend

  • Apr 21, 2010 - 6:53AM


  • Yousuf
    Apr 21, 2010 - 8:12AM

    George, thanks for the uplift, but the lack of response indicates the level of corrosive cynicism blocking our arteries. We want money here. We want stuff now. And Dubai promises that in an instant gulp.

    And the capitalist indoctrination one and a half generations have gone through for the last thirty years, spew the minimalist interest in democracy of our English speaking class in updated neo-conservatives like Imran Khan, Zaid Hamid and the entire Nation editorial line up. Recommend

  • Mohd Jawed Khan
    Apr 21, 2010 - 9:04AM

    You described Dubai very well. It’s very good article. However, I strongly believe that Dubai will recover from its financial crisis but it will take at least another 10 years.

    I would suggest to write on current Pakistani Legal and Criminal justice systems.

    Keep up with your good workRecommend

  • Haider
    Apr 21, 2010 - 11:26AM

    George, very well written analyses of Du-bai. I visited it the first time recently and felt that it was a soulless city. My favorite part of the piece was “South Asian man prances around wearing a silly shirt with a large picture of a polo player on a horse, whilst their women wear oversized sunglasses and carry oversized handbags”. Well said haha. . Recommend

  • Ali Zain
    Apr 21, 2010 - 11:39AM

    Fantastic article I must say Mr. Fulton, though we have a security issues in Pakistan but still it is much much better than Dubai, where we are living a fast life. Its a Muslim city where all non muslim things / food are allowed. People do not have the respect of their cultural and moral responsibilities everyone is busy in their own lives. Recommend

  • Maryam
    Apr 21, 2010 - 12:25PM

    Boohoo! Dubai celebrates capitalism/consumerism? What’s so wrong with that? Are you saying that you prefer Zainab Market tees over the ones available at some of the more upscale places in Karachi (or even abroad for that matter)? Please don’t be such a hypocrite. We need to get off our high horses and admit that we love money. And things. And other such things. Really, we’re not any better.Recommend

  • Apr 21, 2010 - 12:32PM

    A Terrible reality which we have to acceptRecommend

  • Zeeshan arshad
    Apr 21, 2010 - 12:37PM


    As a journalist your job is to provide unbiased information, yet you provide your readers of a cheap view to satisfy your own short comings.

    Anyway, i have lived here for 28 years and i can tell you that Dubai is a very new, trendy and vibrant city where one can explore life and concentrate on really becoming a good person, simply because his odds of seeing a new day are much higher than in karachi, where the odds of coming home in a body bag are far higher!

    You talk about us being a police state. Well in our police state, when we lodge a complain, we get justice. THe very people who are supposed to protect us are not harassing us. We are safer, more secure because of this police state. Women are able to go out at any time of day alone without being harassed. There is law and order and a general sense of a safe environment. Our kids are not being kidnapped and our houses not looted in broad daylight!! You talk about police corruption being somehow better than a police state, boy you probably never got your ass whipped by the pakistan police for no reason yet!

    You talk about Dubai lacking a soul. What does that even mean when you compare it to the people in pakistan. We do not have a soul you say, well people in your city dont have a conscience! People move around in your town like zombies each one trying to out to the other by means legal or illegal. It is a no holds barred environment where only the strong survive on the carcasses of the poor. Child labor, prostitution, drugs is everywhere! I do not know where to start my speech on how people in your town are machines set to engage and destroy, rather than share and compromise!

    You talk about Dubai’s love for money and spending habits of its people. Bro, they earn it, its theirs to decide what to do with it! FYI, Dubai has both the worlds in one city. You wanna live like a rockstar, go ahead. You wanna live humbly, that too is available. I think you should have walked out of your prepaid five star hotel in Dubai Marina and taken a ride down to Deira, Hor al anz, Hamriya, , Qusais, etc, etc, and seen for yourself that is possible to live a modest and humble life in Dubai too! But you were probably too busy checking out “flabby cleavages” in the comfort of an air conditioned mall sipping your american coffee to be bothered to take a taxi and walk around those neighborhoods!

    FYI, i am a pakistani too! Before you go about blasting my city that has given me and a million more everything that we have today, take a deep look at what you are comparing us tol! We do not write articles about your town so you back off our turf! Dubai does not need you or your money. Do us a favor and dont come here again, dont use our airlines, and please keep your articles to yourself!Recommend

  • George Fulton
    Apr 21, 2010 - 12:45PM

    Maryam, errr actually i do prefer Zainab Market T shirts when I can find some that fit!.

    Please also understand that i am not dissing money or people making money. We all have to make a living. But as society that only worships status and money is not a healthy or truly rich society in my opinion. In this respect, I think Dubai is unhealthy compared with Pakistan. Recommend

  • Sameer
    Apr 21, 2010 - 1:38PM

    Well written, but the brief comparative analysis falls somewhat flat when it comes to security related issues. Would i rather live in a city where the chances of me being robbed or killed are much higher compared to one that doesn’t appeal to my preference in aesthetics or intellect?
    And another thing, we are all hedonists one way or the other. The medium of pleasure changes from person to person, some might get off on a great conversation while someone else would feed their narcissism by collecting all sorts of lipsticks… finger pointing works from every angle but looks the same throughout.
    btw, i despise dxb :) Recommend

  • Fatima Ali Khan
    Apr 21, 2010 - 2:43PM

    Excellent insight for those who escape to Dubai as a fad nowadays!
    I thought its just me who felt dis abt da over hyped city!
    Hats off George! but probably few would really care to know abt dis disney land..theyre too busy oogling at designer shops there!Recommend

  • Amber Darr
    Apr 21, 2010 - 3:00PM

    Brilliant. Thank you for saying which some of us feel so strongly! Recommend

  • Maida Sabzwari
    Apr 21, 2010 - 3:03PM

    You makes some valid points – yes we are a consumer driven society, there is racism and everything looks OTT & audacious. But you’ve focused so much on the peripheral, and made SO many SWEEPING judgements, it’s hard to take your analysis of the city seriously. In particular, I was surprised by the following statements:

    ”Slack jawed zombies roam around consuming food, clothes and electronics in a desperate attempt to fill the emptiness of their existence.” – so people who are there to shop & eat & hang out with family are trying to fill their empty existence? Very easy to paint us all with one brush.

    ”Whilst at the Mall of the Emirates the azan goes off. Nobody appears to move to the prayer room” – judgemental much Mr Fulton?? Or does this sentence just tie in well with your idea that we lead an empty existence?

    “The people are modern day Gatsbys, buying shirts & books they will never read” – And you know this how???

    I’m sorry but your analysis of the city is as shallow as you claim Dubai to be. You may diss the city, the lack of culture, the hedonism but you must realise that the people of any city are not all the same. Now excuse me, while I get back to working hard so I can shop at mall of the emirates and buy clothes I will wear & books I will read.Recommend

  • Umer Zubair Awan
    Apr 21, 2010 - 3:36PM

    Good piece Dear George Fulton.
    Karachi too have such oasis for upper class .
    The people from Bhains colony,machar colony or fakeer colony when visit other side of Clifton bridge feel same as you felt in Dubai . Recommend

  • kala shah kaku
    Apr 21, 2010 - 3:37PM

    @Zeeshan – is that a chip on your shoulder there? perhaps if years of dubai toil hadn’t drilled an fidgety inferiority complex into you, you’d see what the author was trying to say, rather that treating us to a tangential polemic..Recommend

  • Alizeh Haider
    Apr 21, 2010 - 3:50PM

    I have a big smile on my face as I finish reading your article! I have read several pieces bemoaning Dubai’s artificial composition, but never quite one like your’s. I can completely relate to what you felt when you were here. Yes, this place is completely soul-less…and also completely detached from reality. One only hears of people winning lotteries and buying expensive cars. Human suffering is meticulously covered up under the seamless wraps of a tightly controlled media.

    The other day I asked a friend here: Do you think there will come a time when they will grow out of the ‘bling’? Flashy cars and gold everything will be looked down upon as nouveu riche- and modest and minimilistic will be classy?. She gave it a moments thought and replied very correctly “No. This is all that they have”.

    Well done on your piece! Keep writing!Recommend

  • Apr 21, 2010 - 3:56PM

    True. I never like Dubai for its superficial progress. I always knew that it would collapse one day. A tent cannot stand without pillars and Dubai never had any.Recommend

  • Fayyaz Alam
    Apr 21, 2010 - 5:16PM

    Thank you George for opening our eyes which are always following gold. Money is a big reality but then Dubai is not doing well even in that. So why follow Dubai – a failed model – and why not devise our own model for success!Recommend

  • Murtaza Mehboob
    Apr 21, 2010 - 5:21PM

    Dear George,

    With all due respect, you just pointed out all the bad qualities about Dubai as a city, without mentioning the good parts. I think it is concensus that the city was and is a phenonomenon for right and the wrong reasons respectively. However, I feel Dubai only lacks regulations/ laws to safe guard its population, and law making I is believe evitable as the years pass by. This will surely result in a stable, Dubai/ UAE, and many more people from the South-East Asia region will flock into the city. You talk about prostitution ! In my view, it all depends on the individual himself/ herself to act in the manner they want to. Please, correct me if i am wrong but Prostitution is common in Pakistan as well. Les Vegas ? not really !

    In my view this article is unhealthy for Pakistanis, as it is doing what we always do, we have always people down to our level and laughed at their misery. In short, we are not better then Dubai/ UAE. if we were it would be much obvious, that doesnt mean that I do not love Pakistan. I probe and critise because I care about my country.

    Murtaza Mehboob Recommend

  • Sajid
    Apr 21, 2010 - 6:42PM

    Nice One!! totally agree with the writer..Recommend

  • Huma Shah
    Apr 21, 2010 - 7:38PM

    Love the line!:
    “The upwardly mobile South Asian man prances around wearing a silly shirt with a large picture of a polo player on a horse, whilst their women wear oversized sunglasses and carry oversized handbags”.
    So true!
    Unfortunately, also we find them all over Pakistan too!Recommend

  • Sarah Shaikh
    Apr 21, 2010 - 8:17PM

    Hi Readers
    I escaped to Dubai for a long time to get away from soul less Pakistan. Agreed with the reality of it being plastic and over pumped. But I came back after the bust to be greeted by heavy Paki cleavages who are just killing for the latest lawn…are we any different? It’s just that in Dubai even a laborer can buy a Loius Vuitton cause he save AED 500 to send home. Easy to get sucked into opulence. Few can afford it in Paki. And we have too much cocaine, vodka and Russian men and women around Khi too! It’s a beautifully written piece minus the comparison to an underdeveloped metropolis. Recommend

  • Dr. Adnan Iqbal
    Apr 21, 2010 - 9:56PM

    Dear George

    Thanks for shedding light on High Dubai Life. Recently, I visited Dubai and I stayed in Rimal Rotana. After putting up in a room, I decided to take city tour. To my surprise, I found myself in a middle of valueless, clueless and artificial people around me. I literally pinched myself, when I saw couple of Pakistani girls speaking in urdu but wearing a dress (Which I am sure western gril would not like to wear). In my last 17 years, I have been living most of western parts of the world such as Australia, UK and Thailand but it was a reverse cultural shock to me. If we dont have electricity, financial crisis and political instability but I am happy we still have some moral values.


  • Hina Khawar
    Apr 21, 2010 - 11:16PM

    George thats unfair! Dubai has the best of both worlds and I love living here. Its child friendly, its safe, its got great beaches, parks, and yes malls too but best of all its less than 2 hours away from Pakistan!!!10 days is not enough to search for a soul in a city…you were obviously hanging out with the wrong crowd….come around next time you visit and I bet I can change your views! ;)Recommend

  • SalmanZ
    Apr 21, 2010 - 11:25PM

    @George! You are absolutely right! “Society that only worships status and money is not a healthy or truly rich society” very well said. Recommend

  • Waqas Hussain
    Apr 21, 2010 - 11:56PM

    George! Whatever you have written is very realistic. Dubai has imported a western culture. Their consumption is high, per capita GDP is high but it still cant be considered a rich society. They have money they can buy everything but not the education. What are they producing is all that attract people but the very basic necessity, education isn’t there. Some foreign chartered universities can’t set the pillars of a society. Recommend

  • Jehan Naseem
    Apr 22, 2010 - 12:14AM

    Very well written and I completely agree with the “outside looking in” perspective. Interesting how such a perspective probably has existed for a long time and has been overshadowed by the stereotyped media informants that are shared more effortlessly.Recommend

  • sarmadR
    Apr 22, 2010 - 12:31AM

    Mate….just brilliant!! i spent 5soul sucking days in dubai, tis the worst place for a vacation, nauseating materialism and empty people doing empty things tryin to find meaning in gucci bags, bravo!!

    And the ppl askin for nonbiased journalism-get a life! this is n opinion post, it serves georges urge to write as he pleases and gives us the chance of readin a heartfelt piece of awesomeness….we need more articles like these!Recommend

  • Zarrar
    Apr 22, 2010 - 12:31AM

    C’mon Zeeshan Arshad, you know everything George said is truth, although I will agree George’s tone was a little bit unkind and harsh. Recommend

  • Apr 22, 2010 - 12:40AM

    Dear George,

    Add me to your fan list!

    You write like most Pakistanis should, and you are a gorra! Your analogies are spot on and the longer we debate on this the better it feels to be living here in Karachi, Pakistan!

    Having been to Dubai several times in my life, I cannot imagine how life would be spent racing up and down Sh. Zayed Rd. everyday for work and party both!

    I try not to argue on this topic much-

    Next, compare Karachi to London! I was pleasantly surprised on a recent trip to see a muslim man praying on a pavement on a high street without any care in the world! It brought a smile to my face as the world passed him by without flinching.

    Keep up the good work!


  • Meekal Ahmed
    Apr 22, 2010 - 1:20AM

    Dubai was a mirage and a bubble that was bound to burst. And she did. Please don’t tell me about their high credit rating. It was given by the same rating agencies (those hotbeds of conflict of interest) that rated the sub-prime mortgages that felled the global economy AAA+. Recommend

  • Mansoor Ali
    Apr 22, 2010 - 1:32AM

    I fully agree George.Recommend

  • Imran
    Apr 22, 2010 - 1:41AM



  • SG
    Apr 22, 2010 - 1:48AM

    Absolutely brilliant! Also, I love the way you use ‘we, us and our’ whilst referring to Pakistan and Pakistanis :-)Recommend

  • Dr. Altaf ul Hassan
    Apr 22, 2010 - 2:12AM

    Pakistan ZINDABAD,George Fulton also ZINDABAD.Recommend

  • Sikandar Khattak
    Apr 22, 2010 - 2:25AM

    Hey George brilliant article. Quite a pleasure to read. I agree with you wholeheartedly. I have only been to Dubai a few times and that too briefly but I got the same feeling as you got. There is something really artificial and fake about it. Cant put my finger on what it was exactly but I was happy to get out of there as soon as I could.
    I find some of the comments by our fellow Pakistanis hilarious. They are really defending Dubai with a lot of gusto. I agree Pakistan has a number of flaws but at least there is no official discrimination. A native of Dubai has far more rights than any other citizen. Then come the Goras. Pakistanis are wayyyyy down the pecking order there. They are treated like crap by the locals. I would like to hear their comments regarding the discrimination that they face.
    Anyways keep up the good work
    All the best!
    cheers Recommend

  • Imran Ahmad
    Apr 22, 2010 - 5:03AM

    lol i like zeeshan’s reply more !!!! both are TRUE tho !!!Recommend

  • Junaid Ahmed
    Apr 22, 2010 - 7:59AM

    I love you Jeorge…I want to see you again on AAJ tv or some other tv channels as host…Recommend

  • huma
    Apr 22, 2010 - 9:45AM

    Wow, you seem to have elicited some strong reactions..though to be fair i ve lived in both Dubai and Pakistan, & i agree with you, Pakistan in its package – the good, bad, and the ugly, is home and thats really where the heart is …
    Frankly we have enough reasons to feel good about ourselves, if nothing else than for the sheer resilience of our spirit that drives us to work and prosper despite the toughest of conditions.. so i guess we really dont need to draw any comparisons.. to each their own .. and to us our load sheddings .. at least we get to see the clear night sky above , away from the glitz and dazzle that at times may blind the sight..Recommend

  • Apr 22, 2010 - 9:48AM

    i agree partially.of course dubai is built upon consumerism.

    but there’s a herd mentality in effect here. all of these people blasting dubai wouldn’t have hesitated before taking off for the city and showing it off back in pakistan. it’s not as bad as fulton puts it. it’s bad, but it does have a soul and spirit of its own.

    you can only understand that when you live there. as pakistanis seeing pakistan getting blasted in the international media, haven’t you people realized that reports like this CAN’T be taken too seriously? this is exactly the kind of article that, say, the washington post might have published in 2004 in regards to karachi and its madrassas. both misrepresent the subject and both give people a convenient target.

    only those people who have lived in a place are justified to make judgements about it. period.Recommend

  • Wasif
    Apr 22, 2010 - 9:54AM

    Nicely said George!Recommend

  • Muhammad Ali
    Apr 22, 2010 - 10:12AM

    Nicely put… This exactly is the case but i had never thought about it that way… Thank you.Recommend

  • Mahwish Naseem
    Apr 22, 2010 - 10:24AM

    Mr.Fulton, indeed you chose to see that view of Dubai which could help you write a nice, sensational article.
    Perhaps, people like yourself who can afford to get away from the difficulties of life in Pakistan today, can afford to make such callous remarks. The average Pakistani i know, will give anything to have not just the bare essentials of “roti, kapra aur makaan” but also a sense of security and a future for their children. And that is what Dubai has been able to give people like me.

    I am obviously not going to get into a city bashing tirade here, for Karachi is as much my city as is Dubai. But for the negativities you pointed out about Dubai, perhaps you should have walked further into the city and seen men from Karachi, and all over Pakistan toil under the harsh sun & work crazy number of hours just so their families are able to survive in & breathe the polluted Karachi air. Ask them how many times they’ve been to Mall of the Emirates or eaten at the fancy food joints. Ask them if they were able to provide for their families in their homeland. Ask them how difficult & lonely life can be for them here and yet they wake up every morning grateful that the old parents, the wife & children are able to get 3 square meals – and for that they are grateful to be here in Dubai. This is also a reality of life – in Dubai.

    Our robust media, police corruption & littering are hardly matters to be proud of, let alone a guarantee of a life worth living. Food for thought!Recommend

  • moeed talal
    Apr 22, 2010 - 10:35AM

    Agree with georgeRecommend

  • Hussain Mandviwala
    Apr 22, 2010 - 10:36AM

    Good Job George, Kudos to your article. Atleast we have passion for our country if not the money. Atleast we have each other if not others. Atleast we know that our affairs are wrong, and not deny living in a life of bliss. You rock!Recommend

  • Rimmal Qureshi
    Apr 22, 2010 - 10:44AM

    I absolutely and totally agree with everything you have said My.Fullton. It is hard for anyone with a sane mind and an alive soul to stay in dubai for more than a couple of days at a stretch..and even those two days are enough to give one a psychological nausea over the positively vulgur display of wealth dripping from everyTHING and everyONE in that city.Its is nothing but a dwelling of illiterate, boorish,illmannerd,and uncouth nauvue riche nobodies,who have gone from donkey to Dodge and Camel to Cadillac in so little time that they failed to pick up civilisation inbetween!Recommend

  • Hiba Ahmad
    Apr 22, 2010 - 12:08PM

    I love the hilarious stereotypes!Recommend

  • Adnan Butt
    Apr 22, 2010 - 12:44PM

    I don’t know George. I kind of like it in Dubai.Recommend

  • Apr 22, 2010 - 12:45PM

    nicely said george ….
    its true. ther r so many who aremisguided & left therir home lands 4 glamours and they run after mudane, m not taking about only pakistan!!

  • Ayesha K
    Apr 22, 2010 - 1:04PM

    Seriously? This is a cute journalistic piece littered with some adhoc stereotypes to play to the local crowd, but it certainly has no basis in reality. Because reality, Mr. Fulton is not limited to fuzzy concepts as “lacking a soul”. For most people reality is based on some very real and gritty facts – income levels, growth rates, healthcare, education, social safety nets, stable institutions, accountability, rule of law. And on each and every one of them it is blindingly clear that Pakistan lags far (far) behind the UAE. Please feel free to verify this by checking exactly how many Dubai nationals are lining up to migrate to Pakistan (and vice versa). Recommend

  • Yousuf Ali Fatemi
    Apr 22, 2010 - 1:04PM

    This the bitter truth.. Some may believe some may not..
    But.. the people who think really about the simple way of living life and Islamism.. They Will understand definately.. Recommend

  • Asad Abbas
    Apr 22, 2010 - 1:28PM

    It was a great article to be read; believe me when i was reading it, the courage and enthusiasam of going back home (karachi) was rushing in my blood. But when i again thought on the subject i came to conclusion that your article where just a mere collection of good words in a right order but far away from reality.

    Also you cannot judge people of a city and its people by just visiting one place, furthermore the place which represents only the posh upper class citizens of that society. I personally have experienced that in UAE there are more people in the mosque (even in the morning prayer) than i have seen in karachi. (please dont count heads count the % of the muslim population)

    This subject of comparision is not good at all. Every place and culture has its own plus and minuses and its upto each individualto select which one he likes more or suits more to his way of living.

    Please write something more realistic and effective not something judgemental and even without doing full research on the subject.Recommend

  • Yousaf Iqbal
    Apr 22, 2010 - 1:30PM

    Dear George. Thank you so much for putting this out. It’s some thing that touch your soul and heart, because you are right that at least we have one. On the contraty, we need to build and enrich our cultral values, and we need to make our young proud of it. We as nation has a myopia of going abroad due to MONEY. Our nation has all the resource but the corrupt politicians does not allow any new one to flourish his business or activities. Thats the reason why people prefer to go outside Pakistan.

    But again thank you for unveiling the fake and short term lavish life of Duabi.Recommend

  • Munaar Alee Kapri
    Apr 22, 2010 - 1:40PM

    thanks Mr. Fulton for you clicking the refresh button for us and thats what we need at this point of time as we have started looking things from others perspective and your opinion wil change many.Recommend

  • Mega-smasher
    Apr 22, 2010 - 2:00PM

    My dear writer, you truly depict a vivid image of Dubai and it is definitely the haven for the glutenous and the coveting, but before you go parading how it’s so horrible in comparison with Karachi. But since it seems that while you comb your overcompensating beard and take a drag from the proverbial cigarette after the victorious verbal orgasm, and I want to congratulate you for having the ‘khuspas’ for slandering something that can’t fight back, I think I should remind you, that your precious democracy is a sham. We are, were and most probably will be dictated and will remain twirling on the hidden strings of our religious fanatic mullah regimes, our feudals, our thieving establishment, our agencies and our military that feeds on the morsels of the white and tan skinned masters of our master’s master.

    When the adds clearly boast “They Steal, We Pay” and the next day they find a pair of fat eggs stealing electricity, who pays then? who had an F.I.R written against them?.

    When our devoted leaders end up owning property worth billions all across the globe and their own people can’t afford clean water.

    When those who swore to protect and serve decided to get up and start raping defenseless girls.

    When those who took the Hippocratic oath decided that a little girl’s life wasn’t worth wasting the nap over, or beating up a group of reporters is the best option if doing the job properly was the other choice.

    when the all mighty media that you so hail decides that people dying in the country isn’t news, and chose to turn a meager sports wedding into a bigger phenomenon than the red mosque fiasco.

    When the upholders of morals and all that is righteous decide to whore out religion so they can gas up the cruiser. They justify the multitude of innocent people dying everyday. They support it. And they try to instill fear and false garbage into the empty head just to get an another follower who they’ll eventually suck dry.

    And once again, Democracy? My dear it isn’t a democracy when the parties have a “if you don’t vote, you die” policy with their followers. maybe 2-5% of the nation votes based on actual performance, the rest of the votes depend on which feudal scared and maimed and lied to the most people into following him.

    So yes, Dubai is morally bankrupt and all that, but at least their moral bankruptcy doesn’t lead to people dying.

    So call me what you will, but i’ll take the safer moral bankruptcy, the gluttony and the pimped out arabs over fearing for my or my family’s life everytime we leave the house, and I would take the soulless plastic city over the starving children dying from a cough while our saviours and “rakhwale” sit on their gold thrones and feed on their hams. And now they accuse our forefathers, the very person who made this country of being a heathen and eating a ham. Despite the aw-inspiring gratitude in that claim, i ask one thing, Does a person’s diet undo his efforts (to death might i remind you) to build a home for an ungrateful nation.

    So in comparison with a life in a country that’s mulled daily from every corner by a vast veriety of rabid dogs, yes goerge, a week in Dubai does seem like a damn good idea.Recommend

  • Saba Kamran
    Apr 22, 2010 - 2:00PM

    Brilliant article George. And it feels so great to see that you really take yourself as a Pakistani. :)Recommend

  • Amir Hamza
    Apr 22, 2010 - 2:40PM

    I don’t agree with the part about having paper wallahs and police and not being a police state – i don’t find them to be particularly justified incompetencies under any circumstances.

    But i am totally and absolutely glad we are not Dxb and we do have a soul. Recommend

  • Hasan Zaman
    Apr 22, 2010 - 2:58PM

    Well said! An accurate description of what Dubai really is! Its about time Dubai’s plasticity was shared publicly! The Arabs are not far from barbarians, sorry, but its the truth. The way they treat women, expats, anyone who has worth of self etc.Recommend

  • Muhammad Altamash
    Apr 22, 2010 - 3:21PM

    Well thought! its quite true that we have enrich culture, freedom of opinion (democracy)etc. The luring factor for Pakistanis might be their status obsessed or excessive consumption oriented lifestyle. Almost every Big Shot of Pakistan has property or investment in Dubai. One thing, that is not apprehensive to me is that why we undermine our very own resources. Specially, The City of Karachi, has all which a great cities of the world have, Why we still get pompous while boasting off our travel or living experiences in FINANCIALLY & TECHNOLOGICALLY developed countries. Why don’t we weigh our values which is far more developed than others, whether its WEST or Any artificially developed state of middle east. All we do is to hope and few good use of words but i wonder if we ever realize our very own potential.
    Apart from this , Nice thought, George! I would be obliged if you write your valued opinion on this issue.

  • Sabreena
    Apr 22, 2010 - 3:28PM

    Interesting article…seems to suggest that Pakistan is the anti-dubai. In theory it is, but the “elite” or well off in Pak seem to be equally obsessed and possessed with materialism, world over the people who are materialistic are borderless. So if inherently every Pakistani was down to earth, cultural and cultured, not pretentious, spiritual, balanced, etc. Then yes it would be awesome to not be “Dubai”…but knowing that Pakistanis are FAR from that, there are more similarities than differences in the realm of materialism. Here its abayas and dish dashas, there its shalwaar kameezes…the designer bags, shoes, glasses all adorn equally and without prejudice :-)Recommend

  • SS
    Apr 22, 2010 - 3:34PM

    FOr all the things you said there are a few glaring mis-conceptions.

    Yes we are not a police state but what about the family whose adlescent child got raped 5 years ago? what about the mother who is waiting for her ‘missing’ son to come home? are they or the perpetrators in dubai? possibly. are they being facilitated by your un-policed state? mostly.

    and what about the media. isnt there enough pessimism in this country already then for the media to say that we are a sinking ship? and what about your leading anchors who will sell their soul and morals for a whiff at the flappy cleavages and the polo shirt with the big horse? what about the hypcrites who create a hype and dont see the real trauma the country is in

    Yes there is no power, electricity or rule of lawin Pakistan. Maybe its not a bad thing. Maybe because we deserve it simply because the majority of our population is occupied with religion. We spend an average of 3 hours a day (by my estimates) praying in front of god for a better life but do we spend our time in working for it? no. we blame God, or we blame the government. or we compare ourselves to dubai, perhaps cynically, wishing for what we could have. Recommend

  • saniya
    Apr 22, 2010 - 4:44PM

    how does comparing pakistan to dubai make pakistan’s problems any less real?
    shouldnt we also be thankful we are not yemen? better yet, or why not compare ourselves to mali – then we REALLY have a lot going for us.

    people with GCC residency are allowed to travel freely between saudi, kuwait, qatar, oman, UAE & Bahrain. everyone, except pakistanis (as of two months ago). if you hold a pakistani passport, you have to apply for a visa.

    if you want to travel to tanzania, the visa fees are USD 50. unless you are pakistani. the you have to pay USD 200.
    no country in the world allows pakistanis visa on arrival, except maldives. (the maldivians dont stop anyone, they are nice like that)

    that’s the reality of paksitan today. that’s the perception the world has of us.

    and we want to sit here and be thankful we dont have bright lights and glitzy buildings and designer outlets and foreign debt…?
    but oh wait. we got foreign debt. LOADS of it.

    from what i recall, we have our very own red light districts, designer outlets (while people sleep on the streets) and we’ve got an elite that’s so disconnected from pakistan it’s heartbreaking (may i suggest a browse through GT).

    let’s work to get our house in order before we go pointing fingers at others. Recommend

  • muhammad adeel naeem
    Apr 22, 2010 - 5:09PM

    thanks george atleast u love pakistan, u dont know most of us are eager to move dubai. And we as nation must love our country.Recommend

  • Hasan
    Apr 22, 2010 - 5:10PM

    This article reminds me of Ozymandias too…where Shelley describes “the hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.” I realize your piece may have been well intentioned. Of course it’s also a great political move to be so pro-Karachi while you’re staying here. Your “analysis” of Dubai’s consumer culture reveals much about your own psychological make up and perhaps what led you to a place like Pakistan — marginalized. I also believe that there are many complex factors and conditions which contribute to the health of a society. Mentally scoring points off people who are shopping instead of plotting and scheming and ruining lives is not among them, unless its done so for the purpose of satire or comedy. Which I guess your whole piece is. “At least we are not Dubai.” Hey I feel for you. Karachi is a rough town. I grew up there and I still think that. Still it is hard to understand the reason for writing such a piece besides abject boredom. The part where you actually judge people for shopping instead of going to the mosque is almost worthy of a column of its own. Really George? Shopping and commerce are not elevated levels of human activity that we all engage in, but bowing down to a magical deity with mysterious superpowers is? I feel like I’m tripping on acid just reading this. Recommend

  • Apr 22, 2010 - 6:03PM

    A terrible but true picture drawn.Recommend

  • Amna Ahsanuddin
    Apr 22, 2010 - 6:04PM

    I thoroughly enjoyed your article and wholeheartedly agreed with your analysis of Dubai. I do, however, think you may have romanticised Pakistan a bit. The ground realities there are disturbing…make no mistake: poverty, social injustice, lawlessness, corruption, racism, religious intolerance, sexism…we have bucketfuls of it. And all this only belittles the soul. Who has time for art and culture when they are worrying about putting the next meal on the table, worrying about being held up at gun point, worrying about being duped and robbed and then never getting any justice. Recommend

  • Mfaruqi
    Apr 22, 2010 - 6:15PM

    I just visited Dubai, and now I know what it feels like to live in an oppressive, colonial state. Horrible. You have it all spot on.Recommend

  • Doctor Moobi
    Apr 22, 2010 - 6:25PM

    very well said!

    Lived in Dubai for couple of months and figure out that living in Dubai has nothing to do with life in it, it is very well expressed with the fake fascinated socio-commercial gatherings and a crap-property talks all around with millions ahead of each other.

    A friend of mine came from Saudi – told me. a new Punjabi Nick Name of Dubai : that is called as : DUB BAE means ( Get Sunk Dude )

    very true and very much realistic as well.

    Dr MoobiRecommend

  • Umer Zubair Awan
    Apr 22, 2010 - 6:47PM

    George Ka PakistanRecommend

  • Shifa
    Apr 22, 2010 - 6:58PM

    Bravo! Bravo! This article reads like someone just took the thoughts whirling in my head and aticulated them oh-so-well! Bravo George! The article is a breath of fresh air! And it makes me homesick! :)Recommend

  • Murtaza
    Apr 22, 2010 - 7:03PM

    Well said. I know Karachi has its own eye brow raising problems, but at least no one tries to hide it. And yes people here are trying to make things better.Recommend

  • Sana
    Apr 22, 2010 - 7:08PM

    Well said. Of course, not everyone can and will agree w everything you have said, but it’s good to see some one writing a positive article about Pakistan, a country we all love and one that has so much to offer and desperately needs our belief and efforts. We have our task cut out for us and hopefully we will come to see a better, stronger, more competent and supported Pakistan.

    As for Dubai, totally plastic is how I have described it always. Hoping things improve there as well, esp as far as inequities and human rights are concerned. Recommend

  • Fahd Ali Zahid
    Apr 22, 2010 - 7:15PM

    Why does it take George to realise this yet we (the natives) are oblivious to all these good facts you pointed out.

    Is it a case of the grass is always greener on the other side or Einstein’s theory of how you cannot understand a frame of reference if you are in it.

    Or is it something else, something like lack of confidence, the feudal mindset always telling us you are weak no good or it our own lack of self appreciation or maybe even lack of Patriotism?

    What is that that has me and many of my fellows leaving Pakistan for a greener patch of grass!! Recommend

  • Ahmad
    Apr 22, 2010 - 7:31PM

    Thank you for writing this. I couldn’t agree with you more. It’s interesting that this article would make as much sense if you were to pluck out ‘Dubai’ and replace it for the U.S.Recommend

  • Ali Q
    Apr 22, 2010 - 7:34PM

    There are many reasons I would rather live in Pakistan than Dubai. None of which you’ve listed above unfortunately.

    However, I truly appreciate the optimism :) Recommend

  • Yasmin Abbas
    Apr 22, 2010 - 7:43PM

    Thanks Mr. Fulton,
    For a very precise and analytical point of view, I think you have spoken for many like minded people.Recommend

  • Ucman
    Apr 22, 2010 - 7:56PM

    What we really need is the feeling that we can do anything and everything and we are not inferior than anyone just because they sit on oil and we don’t. Your article is excellent, though i think we need to learn a lot from these people because every good deed should be adopted no matter whoz behind it. Criticism and ruling out any positive suggestions is another favourite time pass of our society.
    Don’t get dishearted.
    Keep it up!Recommend

  • Waqas Agaria
    Apr 22, 2010 - 8:02PM

    So true.. so true. Nowadays, materialism is the call of the day. This article is the wave of fresh air in the society seem to be obsessed with plastic life. An eye-opener to the “wanna-be” type youth of Pakistan. A very well written article.Recommend

  • Ali Malik
    Apr 22, 2010 - 8:02PM

    Worth reading! I like, I like!Recommend

  • Aliya Shakil
    Apr 22, 2010 - 8:12PM

    Pl accept the reality ……….here in dubai people are not thinking of suicide because their childern are not having enough bread for dinner,or not even selling themseleves for mere few 1000 ruppes. pakistani police is every now n then in media for bruttaly torturing the prisnors …yes pakistan is a democratic country, but worse than any dictatorship.Illitracy,dying economy,lawlessness,poor infrastructure,you name it.i`m a pakistani too but i believe we should learn from our own mistakes and shortcommings rather than comparing our country with others for no reason and we must try to work hard for its prosperity and stability.Recommend

  • Aun
    Apr 22, 2010 - 9:09PM

    For all the lost souls……Whatever we do and wherever we live, we are and will always be Pakistanis! This country may have lots of bad things, but it is from us and we are from it.

    Our democracy may be bad but we are only truly free here. At the end of the day a stupid Arab or a Gora is above you in Dubai or in the UK or Canada. Remember that.

    And as for our history, lets be honest, it doesnt start with Muhammad-bin-Qasim. We made the first civilizations in Muhejodaro and Taxila. We made the first university in the world at Taxila and ruled all of the Indo-Pak from here. Mughals were from among us. We made this country in the face of opposition from everyone. And today, with all the world from the British and the Indians to the Russians and the Americans against us, we have not and will never will ceased to exist!

    That is who we are!!!Recommend

  • Khalid Babur
    Apr 22, 2010 - 9:12PM

    You know George is right ! recently went to Dubai and felt the same but never had appropriate words to explain it.
    I use to say , Dubai is an artificial world and a concrete flower.Recommend

  • fahad
    Apr 22, 2010 - 9:29PM

    I have been to dubai, but i have mostly lived in singapore.

    I do understand what you are generally pointing out in your article which is excessive consumerism with very little time to actually enjoy real soulful life.

    I just find life outside pakistan too hectic with little or no time left for anything else and the best it has to offer is a gigantic version of iphone in return.

    Good quality conversations are completely missing where you have the luxury of wasting away hours discussing stuff that wont really matter in the end. The kind of peer bonding which one sees in pakistan is absent here.

    People here can’t waste time, but only pakistani’s have that luxury and it sure is a luxury better than an iphone or any other gadget thats available on the market.

    As a kid i still remeber the time we used to enjoy during load sheddings. We had nothing yet we were so happy because we had peers and relatives and what not. Outside Pak we have everything but the quality of conversation and the luxury to waste time on such frivolties is gone.

    There are all sorts of people, and some would disagree with what i said.Recommend

  • fahad
    Apr 22, 2010 - 9:36PM

    @aliya shakil

    Japan and to some extent Singapore have really high suicide rates, I have seen people live happily with empty stomachs, but i have seen people kill themselves because of empty souls which is kind of even worse.

    And adversity has generally brought out the best in pakistan. I have seen the poorest come to the help of those who lost everything during the earthquake. We are considered by many international organisations to give the highest per capita alms in the world.

    I have seen old men and women (almost 80 years old) working in singapore because their children refused to take care of them and i see them everyday in their hundreds. A society whose chief purpose is to earn money is structurally very weak and when the tide of wealth goes out then we’ll see whose swimming naked.

    This actually puts me in a very confusing position since my chief aim there also is to earn money. Recommend

  • fahad
    Apr 22, 2010 - 9:40PM

    People have started to disrespect traditional systems which contain wisdom gathered over thousands of years and our very robust. We must be careful when adapting modern systems which generally only work when wealth is abundant, as history tells that after every boom there will be a bust hence we must also be prepared for adversity which could only be handled by a more traditional and robust society.Recommend

  • Sufia
    Apr 22, 2010 - 10:18PM

    George Fulton has excellently put most of my thoughts & feelings about dubai in words. One thing though, the same goes for the whole of UAE (all the 7 states), not just dubai. I always felt about dubai all of what’s stated in this article & more which is hard for me to put into words.

    dubai is a UAE is a soul-less country. Extremely artifical, materiliastic & superficial mindset. I lived there for almost 25 years before moving back to Pakistan in 2007 because despite the fact that I was born, brought up & was educated there; and despite thee fact that I grew up considering the country as my homeland (1st home), as soon as I entered the practical life, I soon realised from the ‘locals’ attitude towards me that I was still an ‘outsider’ for being a Pakistani expatriate.

    Although, I must say that while studying at school / college, I never felt that that was not my own country. The reason could be that the city did have a soul until the year 1995 or 1996. That was when we saw a huge influx of russian prostitutes who could easily be seen in abundance at the normal hang out spots in the country specifically dubai. I guess that has alot to do with the russians approaching the dubai leaders to allow their own immoral & unethical practices & beliefs in lieu of ‘promoting’ dubai in the world’s market just like Las Vegas or more popular cities in the world. The UAE leaders were ofcourse flattered by the offer & if they had morally & ethically better developed souls, they might have not allowed russians’ corrupt ways of livings in their country but they did not care about what they would be turning their land / people into. Now from 1995-96 onwards, what we have seen is a very fast rise of the ‘evil’ vibes & behaviours in the country.

    I am currently living in Pakistan & despite all the loadshedding, government’s corruption & unwillingness to provide the common man, security threats to my & my family’s lives, lesser number of shopping malls & luxury cars & whorehouses, I am still happy for being on a land that cannot tell me to “get lost” for being an ‘outsider’ & for being in a in a city of people with simplicity of hearts & souls.

    I know some people above do not agree with your article but then again for some people money & materialism has priority over everything including self respect & dignity.

    Live long George Fulton!Recommend

  • Muzz
    Apr 22, 2010 - 10:27PM

    Hey George, i was born and raised in karachi i moved to dubai later, i must say this was biased post, i would say this was your share of bad press against dubai like all the other brit journalists do all the time, there are always 2 sides of any society your post seemed like there is no other side! you mean every one is a brand zombie or sex worker? every one gets drunk and eat quarter pounder??

    as a pakistani we dont need any more of biased journalists trying to brain wash our population, we have some very famous ones we watch all the time on TVRecommend

  • Waqas
    Apr 22, 2010 - 11:11PM

    Mr Fulton,

    Kudos for stating such deep thoughts in such pleasing and plain manner that one keeps smiling while reading it. I hope masses do get read what you have written between the lines.

    God bless youRecommend

  • Ali Haider
    Apr 22, 2010 - 11:25PM

    At the end of the dark tunnel, there is “always” light. We can either keep crying about the darkness or feel good to see that light, even though it may seem far. The choice is ours.

    I like this article. There is optimism in it and we need a lot of it.Recommend

  • Amna
    Apr 22, 2010 - 11:37PM

    Mr. Fulton!

    This is great and love the depth.

    Regards, Amna.Recommend

  • Salman
    Apr 22, 2010 - 11:50PM


    Dubai disappointed you coz you over expected …..

    Pakistan is a “country” in every definition of the word….and Pakistan certainly Rocks……Dubai cannot survive if it even has 10% of Pakistan’s challenges…..

    Dubai in this world, is like a cafeteria in a university campus ….you go to cafeteria….eat…drink….party …… thats it…..

    A Dubai resident Recommend

  • Mohsin Abrar
    Apr 22, 2010 - 11:52PM

    Excellent use of words Mr. Writer, Pakistan has its own values and emotions that are necessary to live with shine, but life style holds its own position, as far as Dubai is concerned, they reach the height of life style forgetting their core values, and a nation requires core values as a pillar.Recommend

  • Salman Ahmed
    Apr 22, 2010 - 11:57PM

    I second every word that Zeeshan Arshad said excluding the last para where he got too offensive on George.
    Zeeshan bro take it easy on George.
    Also i do agree that the only two problem right now with Dubai is its debt and ‘identity crisis’

    just to mention, i am also pakistani from dubai.Recommend

  • Eeshma Qazi
    Apr 23, 2010 - 12:12AM

    Dear George,

    Thank you for a very well articulated article. It is true to a great extent that Dubai resembles a modern day Babylon, that it is a city of great extravagance and even greater excess, that its rich are closeted in palatial homes and oblivious of the poor migrant worker who slaves away from the very moment dawn breaks to the setting of the sun. Forget the rich; we of the revered middle classes don’t bat an eyelid at this grievous injustice, snuggled up in our centrally air-conditioned homes in front of our oversized TVs. I agree with you wholeheartedly that Pakistan, being our beloved homeland is very blessed and deserves richly our fond regard for it, so do its people and its food. Sadly though, i beg to differ with some of your assertions. It is only when one has the routine pleasure of walking on clean walkways that one can appreciate litter bans, only when one is in said Mall of the Emirates and the azaan occurs that one praises God for those people who had the forethought to include an air-conditioned prayer area for both men and women in their capitalistic vice, only when one can walk on the corniche, unperturbed, unmolested, with the knowledge that by God’s will one is for the most part safe and secure and only when one does not have to worry about competing with the latest fashions, in fear of committing an unforgivable social faux pas that one truly has cause for gratitude. It is this same city that comes alive in Ramadan with a buzz of religious fervour, when the roads around the mosques are chockerblocked at 2 in the morning and the air is resonant with the melodious voices of the God fearing and it is this same city that promotes at the same time innate cultural harmony without division into cast or creed. I am in complete accord with you that Dubai has many flaws but a corrupt, soulless democracy (another gift from the West) that is our lot serves us far worse than Dubai’s elitist rulers I promise you. Recommend

  • Caliph111
    Apr 23, 2010 - 12:22AM

    Your views regarding Dubai, are Im sorry to say, pathetic.
    You have laid accusations and insulted several people of different backgrounds, residing in Dubai, in your TEN DAY trip.
    I have lived in Dubai for over 24 years and what your are saying is very off – track.
    Let me clarify myself first,I am not Emarati, nor do I have any Arab blood in me.
    I was extremely shocked when you said “Whilst at the Mall of the Emirates the azan goes off. Nobody appears to move to the prayer room; everyone’s too busy performing sajda before Stella McCartney…..”.
    In my 24 years I have been to almost all the malls in Dubai several times, and have even worked 12 hour shifts in some of them, mall of the emirates included, and not ONCE did I find the prayer rooms empty, infact, most of the time 2-3 jamaats have to be held as there are so many people.
    Our leader, Shaikh Mohammed, has done countless favours upon people living in Dubai. The late Shaikh Zayed himself caused so many developments in Pakistan aswell.

    You also mentioned Russian hookers,
    I agree, Dubai still has many hookers, however the amount has cut down significantly, and the government does take measures in order for it to stop.

    Now lets compare Karachi and Dubai.
    Karachi also has many prostitutes.

    Dubai is far more multicultural than Pakistan, as people of many different nationalities co exist, however in Pakistan, MUSLIMS cannot get along with each other, SHIA-SUNNI violence still exists. The death of Maulana Azam Tariq Shaheed is a result of Sectarian violence .

    However, the HIGHLIGHT of your article, and my favorite line is “For all its inadequacies, at least we have a democracy.”
    You say you are a Democracy? Pakistan has been under martial law for most of its time, from Iskander Mirza, Gen.Yahya Khan,Gen. Ayub Khan to General Zia.
    Secondly, I pity the intelligence of EVERY PAKISTANI who says his country is a democracy, thus implying that ASIF ALI ZARDARI was ELECTED President. Great choice by voters.

    I can write alot more on why Dubai is better than Pakistan, but time does not permit me. if I see replies to this thread I shall post more comments.
    I would like to conclude by saying that I have no intention of offending ANYONE.
    I myself am a Muslim and am married to a Pakistani, I mean no offence to anyone.Recommend

  • fatima
    Apr 23, 2010 - 12:40AM

    absolutely spot on,now i know why i was never able to breathe in Dubai,it’s not the air conditioning in malls or the sheer ‘blingness’of the city,but the whole idea on which its based…more,more and some more.
    landing in pakistan in darkness and facing the chaos that ensues…i feel i can breathe again.Recommend

  • Rimmal Qureshi
    Apr 23, 2010 - 1:37AM

    In response to all those who are sighting security issues, corruption , economic crisi and the like as reasons for karachi or even Pakistan being not a fit place to live..and prefering the lesser evil of moral bankcruptcy, like the one found in Dubai….I would only like to say, that …In a war there is killings, and blood, and depression and all..but those who leave the war and run away are called DESERTERS! a shameful label if one has even a shred of honor!..similarly those who leave their country , and try to become americans or british or arabian etc( even though the real americans and british etc always consider them as outsiders, and “parasites”)…..they also fall in the same category! DESERTERS…

    i wonder why, the same Pakistanis who “toil under the harsh sun & work crazy number of hours just so their families are able to survive in & breathe the polluted Karachi air” cannot do the same hardwork in Pakistan and make an effort to eradicate the problems we, as a nation have? why? because its teh easier way out?…

    so how come someone,,,who deserted their homeland,,and selfishly chose the easy road, to fulfil just their own needs, can dare comment on the deteriorating condition of our socio-economic environment?..instead of munching out numbers and figures by the dozen about pakistans problems..why not use ur excellent skills FOR Pakistan?

    and lastly,for those who stress on considering reality instead of “emotions”….. this was an article not just about the vulgur consumerism in dubai was also about the pysche of the PEOPLE who live there..and being a basic factor of production, the PEOPLE of a state, and what they think and how they feel, plays a more REAL role in its economics and society and the over all setup ..than anything else..hence a soul-less nation = a soul-less state…and trust me ..THIS IS AS REAL AS IT GETS!Recommend

  • Syed A. Mateen
    Apr 23, 2010 - 1:40AM

    People who went to Dubai in late 70 were able to earn some money and live there for a considerable period of time.

    The Dubai of today is completely changed. Every thing seems to be artificial. Dubai has become a mixed plate of different nationalities where one get bore if he or she stays there more than a week.

    After the downfall in property market, there is hardly any one who is interested to buy properties in specific areas market by the Dubai Government.

    Property value has come down by 50% and the rents have also come down by almost 50%. Construction companies have already packed their bags and developers have cancelled almost all the high-rise building projects where were rolled blindly from one person to another.

    Foreign investors have lost millions of US Dollars as the money was coming in to Dubai from all the four corners of the world.

    But after the global economic crunch, the property prices have come down to earth where every property owner is a seller but there is no buyer.

    I doubt that in very near future Dubai is going to come up economically, as now Dubai is financially supported by another emirate of UAE, namely Abu Dhabi.

    The basic flaw in property investment was that against the investments made in Dubai property market, people were not offer citizenship and in lieu investors were assured for a long term visas, the duration of which was slashed down with the passage of time.

    Rules in Dubai change over night. One cannot be sure what new law Government may introduce next morning.

    It is no more a “Gold Plated Dubai”.Recommend

  • M Khan
    Apr 23, 2010 - 2:45AM

    George, thanks for the write up. Every now and then we need to feel good about our city and realise we aren’t as bad as everyone (including ourselves) think we are. Easier said than done, but as they say.. Its time to stop whining and doing something about it. Either way, I think Karachi is probably the nicest place to live in the subcontinent right now. Keep up the good work. Cheers.Recommend

  • K Sheikh
    Apr 23, 2010 - 3:08AM

    This article is pretty ludicrous, I mean, Dubai is pretty disgusting, but the comparison made is completely pointless. In many respects it was disturbing. It’s flippant, arrogant and George, you seem to be trying to impress some Aunties and Uncles here really, really hard.

    Also, what is up with the ‘Oh George, it makes me feel so good to see that you refer to yourself as a Pakistani’ comments …. What?Recommend

  • Hind Rashid
    Apr 23, 2010 - 3:37AM


    FYI : there is no PRADA store in Mall of the Emirates….get ur facts right buddy ! Recommend

  • KN
    Apr 23, 2010 - 3:58AM

    Hello Mr George..

    Well i have been living in Dubai for almost 28 years now. I am very much a pakistani too but all that u have mentioned in ur article just seems like as if Ur taking Ur anger out from the load shedding u have been suffering in karachi. Seriously if this place was as bad u wudnt have even survived here for like 10 days to go back and give the worst description about this place. Why analyze this place frm wat u happen to see in the malls or the hookers u saw roaming the streets. Why not appreciate the fact that all Wat the Sheikh’s of this country have been through and how they have worked to reach these heights of success today. well tough luck really that recession has hit them bad but really the spirits of getting back and re establishing themselves are still there. Dont judge women or men by the designer outfits they wear or as mentioned the over sized bags and glasses i mean how is all this interfering in anyones life living in Dubai or anywhere else. Its a matter of choice wat u wear wat u eat etc etc.. u cant judge ur opinions on things u happen to come across in certain malls.Apart from that all the time during your stay what was the worst experience u personally came across??? I mean did u get pulled over on the side for nothing or were u criticized for not havin a descent shirt on hmm lets say maybe the food that was served had some gold leftovers since the Bling* u saw was too much to handle!!Really i mean u come here stay for a while and u start feeling sorry for the people who happen to shop and enjoy the basic luxuries of life and u say we are wat Zombies and fill our empty souls blah blah … No Sir we are The People who work hard earn Legal money and than go out treating ourselves wid all the Goodiess we can so happen to afford and in fact very blessed to be in an environment where we have such diverse cultures each being respected for their own religion and belief..
    @All the people agreeing wid Mr Geroge how many times have u guys visted Dubai in the last few years?? And i u had and cudnt settle in really guys tough luck than coz if u all wud have the views would have been slightly more positive so stop agreeing blindly on what you read and see thats why we have all the wrong people in our so called Democratic country coz we just believe in any garbage we are told.I love PAKISTAN and I love Dubai!! Now this is what I call Loyalty! Recommend

  • Cremated Wolf
    Apr 23, 2010 - 5:07AM

    Dear All,

    Are we any different from Dubai? The Shaukat years of being a periphary capitalist country, living the Capitalist dream. Free acces to unlimited creditand consumer items. Cars and cell phones. Time when our president equated economic growth with the reach and number of cell phones.

    elestricity, the problem we live, was and is caused by the consumerism of air conditioners. High prices of gas through the bank finance of cars. Inflation through the consumer culture of glut.

    Guess we are living the life of Doestoevsky’s “noted from the Underground”: we keep denying what we are to be what we are. Stop with this comparison please.

    And democracy, the biggest sham has finally taken us in its embrace. Guess we are the lost children who forgot to read Arundhati Roy on contemporary forms of democracy.Recommend

  • Zubair Ahmed
    Apr 23, 2010 - 5:59AM

    Some generalizations here and there, but overall a very good piece of analysis George.

    Some people do have a valid point though. You should have gone down the suburbs and seen the poor South Asian workers and other lower class people scrambling for some dirhams to send home. Its these people at the base of the new consumer and capitalist lover Dubai. People like these toil in desert heat to earn 3000 a month while the elite buy clothes worth more than 3000 each weekend at the malls. Dubai helps them survive you say? Sure. It keeps them in their poverty while the Bourgeoisie of the city enjoy their value-less commodity loving life, living off the labor of these poor.
    Those who think it has the best of both the worlds, well the “best” is only reserved for those who are rich, certainly not for those who toil in labor and provide the very basis of the new Dubai.

    George, you should have told the people these contradictions of the capitalist heaven called Dubai too.

    Excellent Work. Recommend

  • Urooj Shafi
    Apr 23, 2010 - 6:53AM

    Has no body ever realized that Dubai is a cosmopolitan hub, you take what you can and move to some where better. If people love their country, culture, heritage and religion so much then they should stick to it. There is nothing shallow or empty, you learn and achieve allot. It depends on you.
    Karachi, Lahore etc “Pakistan” is a lost country driven by greed and uneducated government/people. Our youth, bloody hell they follow the west .What about education! How many Pakistanies are literate?..How many of the pakistanies actually make a difference to the society or the country is the fact that needs to be addressed.
    Its easy commenting , writing an article and being opinionative but what have YOU done as an individual to actually change your surroundings?…..You seem to be busy coming down to Dubai you say? to judge the life style here….for your escape?
    Do remember Dubai now is a multicultural country. The country is still young and developing they will learn form their mistakes. But hats off that they take care of their own. What does Pakistan do for me!!??? Nothing thats why my family moved here. I’m sick of hearing “Oh Pakistan has so much spirit”. Cause if it did Pakistanies would be investing in Pakistan and making a difference.
    Dubai offers opportunities one just needs to grab them and make the most. What does Pakistan offer? Better yet what does Pakistan offer and to whom? Recommend

  • Apr 23, 2010 - 9:54AM

    “It has imported all the worst aspects of western culture (excessive consumption, environmental defilement) without importing any of its benefits (democracy, art)”. Thank God they have not imported UK-USA brand of democracy and culture, where according to former Senator Mr. Solar, “USA constitution has No extra teritorial application”.
    Let us wait and see, when Western democracy opens the valves of rising economic and openness baloon of UAE.Recommend

  • Tania van Hoof (expat)
    Apr 23, 2010 - 9:59AM

    Dear George,
    Thanks for sharing your insights with the rest of the world! In a way I agree with you about the glitz & the glamour… and all that glitter is not gold…
    We have been living in Dubai for almost 17 months now, as for the first six month I hated every minute being here. As time went by, we have learnt who our real friends are, discovered places to visit other then the malls and the fancy restaurants! Going for walk any time of the day or night is pure bliss, not worrying that you will get hi-jacked in your car or a gun pointed at your head as back home in South Africa.
    The city is clean, the city is safe and there are still places that has kept it’s culture!
    2 weeks or 20 days does not do you justice to hammer Dubai the way you do.
    But we all are entitled to have our own views… right?
    Come on over and stay for 6 months, your views will surely change!
    Dubai greetings!Recommend

  • Ali
    Apr 23, 2010 - 10:03AM

    Dubai isn’t half as bad as Pakistan is, otherwise why would so many Pakistani’s come and work for us here in Dubai? All of you dissing Dubai, don’t ever come to Dubai. Stay in your Pakistan, England, Amreeka, India, Europe, in fact, those Pakis in Dubai – GTFO and go back to Pakistan, we don’t want you here.Recommend

  • Apr 23, 2010 - 10:07AM

    George, great article. I truly enjoyed reading it.

    I just hope and pray all of what you’ve written isn’t retribution due to the fact you didn’t get a job in Dubai. Recommend

  • Apr 23, 2010 - 10:19AM

    Dubai offers choices ;its up to people to make the choices.
    Police state it may be but it is safer than other places if one follows the law of the land.

    Some questions:
    Who manipulated the bubble bust in Dubai ?
    For every dollar coming in to Dubai, some other place /country lost out.

    Besides investors there were genuine buyers who wanted a SAFE second home.
    DUBAI will come ……. somedayRecommend

  • Apr 23, 2010 - 10:20AM

    George, you appointing out the some facts but don’t you think that every city has its own charisma. I don’t think Democracy as ideal. Arab rulers’ have already achieved a lot via authoritarianism then loss a few things. They are successfully in controlling law and order and other. Why do you forget that Dubai is a fun land, tour place and combination of alluring cultures? It is not permanent residential village. People from especially third world come to Dubai, would never be succeeded to make love constantly as nationalism does not allow in general. Whereas Pakistan and subcontinent, no doubt they are natural and sublime societies and you cannot compare with newly board artificial society. NOT.LahoreRecommend

  • Apr 23, 2010 - 10:20AM

    As above Recommend

  • Apr 23, 2010 - 10:25AM

    Dear Mr. Fulton,
    Everyone is entitled to their own view, but yours of Dubai is as shallow and superficial as the picture you paint.

    Clearly, you took no time whatsoever to open your eyes to aspects of Dubai other than those that supported your jaded opinion.

    Dubai is far from perfect. But, in my experience, no place is. I have visited Karachi, and while it has its own charm, it’s not a place I would choose to live. Although I can certainly understand that there are those such as yourself who might.

    Honestly, to compare Pakistan and Dubai is like comparing apples and oranges. There’s not much point to it.

    If you prefer to live there, fine. But please refrain from trashing a place of which you have such limited experience. It’s unbecoming of a journalist, and debases our shared profession, two of the tenets of which are balance and objectivity.

    Other than that, I would repeat everything I said a year ago in an open letter to The Independent’s Johann Hari; here:

    An Open Letter To Johann Hari Of The Independent (April 2009)

    Why Blame It On Dubai?
    Perfect Metaphor For The Love To Hate Dubai Debate

    You will find multiple related links at those above.


    Susan Macaulay,
    Canadian expatriate & long-time resident of the UAERecommend

  • Ahsan Rauf
    Apr 23, 2010 - 10:44AM

    Well a reality to be accepted for the partial Dubai area, the area where westerners reside and i totally agree. We live here and we know what pros and cons are there to live here but then i realized that you see what u want to see. Other thing is Pakistan is my country and i love it to death but i live here to earn and feed my dependents , so i don’t have much choice to take things rationally.

    This article is well done to lift up the morals of us Pakistanis by not disgracing our selves to the lowest but it also is demotivate factor you have highlighted for 8 lac Pakistanis who live and work here to run there homes. I guess you should have been a bit mature in putting all this together.Recommend

  • Saniya Farooq
    Apr 23, 2010 - 10:54AM

    I smell post modernism here. Like Esham beautifully pointed out, it’s only when you have food to eat and some cash in your pocket that you can think of whats good or bad with a road, a mall, a city. where there is neither a road, nor a mall nor a city – or if they are, they are burnt, bombed, littered, and the road is inaccessible thanks to the lightest drizzle – you know the comparison can simply not be made. if we have not had the decency to make prayer rooms in our malls, or keep our roads clean, if our civil engineers did not gobble up the development money and made aweful roads that have no water drain system, if we are in love with corruption more than with Dubai, and then if we dont have law and order in our country, no contract enforcement to give us promise in the first place that our hard labor(as much as we are willing to do in Dubai but not in Pakistan) will be paid off, then the problems of our country are sad in the full sense of the word. where a poor man has to sell his kidney to get medicines for his mother, and a middle class family gets burglars at home any day in karachi, any sane, normal person would opt for dubai any day of the year. the polluted air of khi or lahore is dear to me too, but only if i am alive, with a functioning nose in the first place to breath it.Recommend

  • Apr 23, 2010 - 11:13AM

    Yes, definately Dubai is a Sheeshey Ka Ghar (House Of Glass), which fascinating, attractive & beautiful. One must to see & look then admire & adore it & thats ALL. You must enquire to those people who have settled in Dubai for Livelihood purpose they would let you know that how could they survived & accomodated in Dubai with hardness & harshness.
    I am amazed to think about future of UAE because according to the report that poppulation of UAE is around nearly SIX Million but matter of thinking is that the actual and origin of UAE & Emirati people is less then ONE Million Only !!! And remaining FIVE Million is ALIEN.Recommend

  • Ali J
    Apr 23, 2010 - 11:45AM

    I have visited dubai, UK few times and currently live in the US and I must say George is 100% right in his analysis.. I won’t get into details, peopl who don’t want to come accept reality and talk just to satisfy their mental comfort or reinforce their fake ideals, will do that.. their hearts are closed and sealed and eyes bedazzaled by the consumerism. They are soaked in false bliss that they draw from ignorance…. George I for one agree with you. That’s a respectable article and you deserve a pat on your back, so give yourself one from me… Pakistan Zindabad. Recommend

  • Sarah
    Apr 23, 2010 - 12:02PM

    We all must learn to appreciate what we have. No wonder it always seems that grass is greener on the other side but when you start to walk on the greener pasture soon you will realize that its mere a delusional world.Recommend

  • Nadeem Ahmad Dogar
    Apr 23, 2010 - 12:13PM



  • Z ali
    Apr 23, 2010 - 12:28PM

    George Fulton ,

    Well nice comparison of Dubai and Pakistan.

    Well Pakistan is heaven on earth but unfortunatly we made it hell.
    Pakistan is the country which has four seasons, all kind of fruits and vegitable all the year, Mountains ful of jewels , Gold , Coal each and every thing but we dont have leader.

    Atleast we have social life and Joint famly which cant be seen hardly any where, we respect pur elders and parents and more.. values
    but we are “ALWAYS BUSY BUT DOING NOTHING”Recommend

  • Max Robinson
    Apr 23, 2010 - 12:41PM

    Dubai? Karachi? Pah! I’ll take Lahore before instead of these overrated cities any day of the week ;)Recommend

  • ayesha mahgul
    Apr 23, 2010 - 12:44PM

    thumbs upRecommend

  • Max Robinson
    Apr 23, 2010 - 12:47PM

    ‘before instead’….

    Clearly all this Western consumerism & lack of spirituality has destroyed my grammar :)Recommend

  • Anastasia
    Apr 23, 2010 - 1:12PM

    right, let’s see if my comments don’t “magically disappear” the second time

    Mr Fulton,

    Great job on joining the Dubai-bashing leagues! This piece is a perfect example of what responsible journalism isn’t. Your bias is very evident, as is your hatred towards Dubai. Irresponsible media is not a good thing. Lack of responsibility breeds lack of facts and thus the public does not get to be informed of the actual facts, so the media becomes nothing more than just fiction.

    We’re all entitled to our own opinions, certainly no place on Earth is perfect. UAE as a country has its problems, as does US, UK, Australia, Russia, Pakistan, India, South Africa and just about any country you care to name. Patriotism towards a country doesn’t mean you are blind to the imperfections of your own country and/or use the “well at least we’re not __” excuse.

    Dubai indeed has art, you just failed to do proper research and look into it deeper than a Post-It with your fan fiction ideas scribbled on. Paradise for gluttons to indulge in fast food, fast living, fast women? Is that what you, perhaps tried to do whilst in Dubai, but ended up spending AED3000 on the bottle of champaigne and had nothing left over for the fast living and the fast women? Further, can we see some factual proof of statements such as “The people are modern day Gatsbys, buying shirts that they will never wear and books they will never read.” ? I know plenty of people who buy shirts only later to wear them; equally I know a lot of people who buy books and actively read and discuss them.

    There’s a lot of reasons why a lot of expats chose Dubai as their second home. Dubai is a cultural hub of ideas, local Emirati, American, English, Australian, Canadian, Russian, Chinese, French, Swiss, Indian, Pakistani, Italian, Greek, and a host of other nationalities. Yes, Dubai isn’t perfect, no country in this world is. At least Pakistan isn’t Dubai, that’s right, if it were you’d have little loadshedding, no bombs and no local TV cynicism. And would that really be such a bad thing?


  • Apr 23, 2010 - 1:34PM


    You might not like the place you live in, with bombs going off right and left and the telly filled with political talk shows, but after all, there’s no place like home. Pakistan may have many flaws, agreed, but they’re all a part of the Pakistan I know and love, and I wouldn’t have my country any other way (of course, I wouldn’t mind bombs not going off right and left, but oh well).

    We desperately need more articles like this one to make ourselves realize how lucky we are to be living in a place like Pakistan.Recommend

  • Adnan Adil
    Apr 23, 2010 - 2:16PM

    I totally agree with the author. He has nicely articulated his views. When I saw the labour I Dubai, it reminded me of the slave labour that built pyramids. It is crime against humanity. Moreover, Dubai seems to be a big international flesh market where prostitutes from all over the world roam around hunting customers. There is nothing in the city but huge buildings, shopping centres and prostitutes. No culture, no social life.Recommend

  • Sabeen
    Apr 23, 2010 - 2:35PM

    You are too biased… human nature is universal… everyone loves money and the elite in Pakistan or the Gucci/Prada donning footballer’s wives in London are no different from the upwardly mobile South Asian men and women in Dubai. And lets not forget that although ‘Dubai’s stock and property market has tanked’ the phenomenon was global and it may take a good 5-10 years but dubai will recover from the recession too.Recommend

  • Zd
    Apr 23, 2010 - 2:55PM

    I agree to the most of the article you have written but there are some pinching realities that I as a Pakistani, a business man & a family guy go through in almost every aspect of my life in Pakistan. Now I love Pakistan in-spite of all the atrocities from a corrupt government to lack of having the basic necessities a citizen’s right towards his so called democratic government is. It is true in Pakistan that when a person like my self goes out for work is like going to a war not knowing if he will be able to make it back to his family in the evening. It is also true that when my daughter goes to school, the anxiety of going some thing wrong constantly resides in the back of my mind. We have no power & other necessities of life. Now democratic or not, safety, security & basic necessities of the citizens of Dubai are being provided by the so called non-democratic government. I believe we have souls at constant war with the on going brutality within our own system. Recommend

  • tipu truckanwala
    Apr 23, 2010 - 2:58PM

    I am very much agree with you but not on that “we have soul “ do you really think so, if we have so we never allow few people to play with like a football or allow them to treat us like jailbirdRecommend

  • Raheel
    Apr 23, 2010 - 2:58PM

    @Aisha K
    you talked about very real and gritty facts … here are some … Dubai has got nothing … no industry … no natural resources … no agriculture … no manpower … no pool of scientists … zero defense capabilities … it produces nothing … in the long run it can not survive … it depends on others for its existence … its not even a country … on the other hand Pakistan i… we have everything … we have got huge and i mean HUGE potential … Dubai has got none … yes Pakistan does lag behind currently thanks to the army of traitors we have amongst us … but wont for long … enough REAL and GRITTY FACTS … or you want some more?Recommend

  • Tina Qureshi
    Apr 23, 2010 - 3:04PM

    Well said – At least we are not Dubai, a city without a soul.
    WE have a soul….so what if it is evil down to its very core, and so what if it kills, rapes and tortures hundreds of good and innocent souls daily.
    WE have a soul….we love our Pakistan, it belongs to us, that is why we can be as corrupt as we like, and loot the country endlessly. That is also why we can we can treat 90% of our population as our slaves.
    At least we have a soul….and one day it will awaken from its evil nightmare…..Recommend

  • Farooq Arain
    Apr 23, 2010 - 3:07PM

    George! well explained facts and thank you, for valuing Pakistan, what we often forget to do. Recommend

  • M
    Apr 23, 2010 - 3:07PM

    We shouldn’t have to attack and say bad things about another country to feel better about ourselves… I’d like to think that we are bigger than that…Recommend

  • Vernon D' Cruz
    Apr 23, 2010 - 3:36PM

    George George – where do I begin!

    You came to Dubai on an Emirates flight and not a PIA one
    This is your 4th trip to Dubai in less than 3 years. There is definitely something that makes you keep wanting to come back
    I was with you in the mall when the azan went off. Dubai has dedicated prayer rooms in the malls where people pray. I could have taken you ther if you wished. You also have to factor that Dubai has a 90% expat population and MOE is primarily filled with Westerners who aren’t muslim so hence would not go praying when tha azan goes off
    Prostitution, alcohol etc are prevalent everywhere – look at Khi and Lhr as just one example
    Dude it’s not just people from the sub continent that dress up here – we just choose to judge people from our part of the world. They earned their wages – let them spend it as they wish
    The city of Dubai was built by people from Pakistan. This city provides them with an opportunity of providing for their families back home. They transfer close to $175million back home annually. They provide, food, shelter and education – something that the Government of Pakistan has been promising to provide them for the past 60 years.
    Dubai is safe. Kids can go to school without the fear of being bombed or kidnapped, you can drive your car without the fear of getting robbed at a signal, woman can walk and drive without the fear of being harassed, kids can play in the parks and streets
    Moreover Dubai is a city that respects all religions and all nationalities
    In regards to spending excessive amounts on alcohol or designer wear clothes and I speak of Khi when I say this. Just visit any of the cafes in Zamzama where you are allowed to consume your own alcohol or the various so-called charity balls which is the ‘place to be seen’ with each table flaunting their Johnny Walker Blue Label Bottles as a statement
    Don’t get me wrong. Being from Pakistan I love Pakistan. But it does break my heart to see how the city has deterioated each time I visit it. Dubai has made something out of a desert. If only Pakistan could learn from it we would be miles ahead
    And so what if Abu Dhabi bails out Dunai. It is one country at the end of the day. Do we compare Khi versus Lahore or New York versus California when it comes to their economy?
    Dubai may be in financial difficulty due to the recession – but they will bounce out of it as they have planned for the future. It’s just a matter of time. Pakistan is in financial difficulty due to corrupt politicians who have filled their own pockets
    And lastly culture. With a 90% expat population you would not see any particularly in the area where you were living which is dominated by westerners. Abu Dhabi is the cultural capital of the UAE, just like Lahore is of Pakistan – you talk about Dubai being fake and lacking culture – what culture does Khi have (and mind you I say this being a person who loves Khi to death)
    Pakistan cricket would be dead right now if it weren’t for the UAE. Thing of the 170 million entertainment starved people that there would be
    I could go on and on! However, hope I’ve made my point – let’s not judge. Let’s learn from others and focus on taking Pakistan forward

  • Farhan
    Apr 23, 2010 - 4:38PM

    Brilliant, its a one go column with penetrating words ….. its wonderful simply!Recommend

  • Farhan
    Apr 23, 2010 - 4:46PM

    but i do agree with Vernon D’ Cruz….. he has also given the true facts. As out of that society we can see the whole picture from here very clearly. Recommend

  • Caliph111
    Apr 23, 2010 - 5:50PM

    “I think Karachi is probably the nicest place to live in the subcontinent right now”
    M Khan is obviously not in his senses when he says that.
    A mans primary concern is SAFETY!
    In Dubai and India people can walk the streets alone at night and still feel safe, I know Pakistanis who are born and raised in Karachi who say that it is not safe.
    All Pakistanis who say Karachi better/safer than dubai are delusional.
    Pakistan HAS THE POTENTIAL to be a great nation and KARACHI has the potential to be another major city, just like Bombay or Delhi, or even Shanghai for that matter, but right now, IT IS NOT>
    Do not try to fool yourselves as well as readers who are unaware of the reality in Pakistan. DO not pretend your in lala land when Zardari is on top of your head.
    Pakistan COULD do alot of great things, but it HASNT done any yet. A pakistani is in no place to criticize Dubai or India. People in glass house should not throw stones at others.Recommend

  • Caliph111
    Apr 23, 2010 - 6:01PM

    You just defeated yourself in an argument.
    Dubai – Zero
    Karachi _ Huge Potential

    Dubai – Great Place, safe to live in, no doubt it is affected by the recession, but it is coming up slowly. We have a leader who loves us and takes care of us. Although we don’t have nukes, scientists etc etc we have still made a better name than Karachi, in terms of standard of living,safety as well as business.

    So if your contry/city is that great, WHY ARE YOU STILL THE WAY YOU ARE ?

    Being patriotic is a good thing, however baseless Patriotism, I find very annoying.
    If your from New York, yes you can be proud of what you have in the city because it IS a great city, often referred to as the best city in the world, because it has such things in it. PAKISTAN has nothing, so why are you so patriotic?
    Does your economy has a 100000 billion dollar surplus?
    Or that your President is often referred to as Mr.10% and has allegations of the murder of Bhutto?
    Or that your city is so safe that a single woman can walk the streets without being shot,robbed or raped at night?
    Or is it because your cops are so honest and bribe-free?

    Please, think before you speak.Recommend

  • Mohammed Saeed
    Apr 23, 2010 - 6:05PM

    What Dubai has achieved in last 60 years is worth being proud of.
    A city of 20,000 in 1954 have done many things right…

    As of 2007, Dubai was the 8th most visited city of the world.

    A City Mayors survey rated Dubai as 44th among the world’s best financial cities, while another report by City Mayors indicated that Dubai was the world’s 33rd richest city, in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP). Dubai is also an international financial centre and has been ranked 37th within the top 50 global financial cities as surveyed by the MasterCard Worldwide Centers of Commerce Index (2007), and 1st within the Middle East.

    Dubai is home to over 200 nationalities and provides safety and security to all… lets learn from Dubai and than try to achieve 10% of what they have… in the next 60 years.

    We first need Roti, Kapra and Makan + Electricity + Security + Education + Clean water ++++++ than democracy!

    Dubai, we love you! and we will learn from you! to provide all you have to your citizens and residents!

    God bless Dubai!Recommend

  • Mohsin Ansari MD
    Apr 23, 2010 - 7:14PM

    Exactly what I have felt over so many years when I visited Dubai.
    just two things missing in this article which stands out most to me in Dubai.
    1) the injust system The rulers commit the biggest crimes, face no consequences, while poor people get the most brutal treatment. Remember the recent case in USA media about a royal family miniter torturing one of his partner the most brutal way possible.

    2) The most unequal distribution of money. I personally saw hundreds of common workers sleeping on streets every day in Dubai, while I also witnessed the only 7 star hotel in Dubai with no rooms avaialble to stay bz of being sold out!!Recommend

  • Apr 23, 2010 - 8:15PM

    Excellent article Indeed.. and I totally agree that We should appreciate what we have got instead of taking everything for granted! The most important things in life are not things :)
    I have been to Dubai too and couldn’t agree more with you!Recommend

  • Kulsoom Omar
    Apr 23, 2010 - 9:01PM

    Thank you Mr. Fulton!

    Spot on piece. Dismal place. Disneyland is thumbs up in comparison – if that isn’t pitiful then what is? Recommend

  • absurd
    Apr 23, 2010 - 9:03PM

    Karachi is better than Dubai? What does Daniel Pearl have to say about that? Oh right, he had his head cut off. He can’t speak for himself. Speaking of Jews, how does Pakistan treat its religious minorities? Its women? And why is it this George Fulton’s business that people aren’t rushing off to the mosque following the call to prayer? Please stay in Pakistan George Fulton, and good luck with all the violence, illiteracy, paranoia and martial law there.Recommend

  • Sana
    Apr 23, 2010 - 9:39PM

    Thank You, Thank You…..I am glad to know that there are people who think the same of Dubai…Recommend

  • Hassaan Touheed
    Apr 23, 2010 - 9:45PM

    Our dear George, I appreciate your observation and broadly agree with you. But at the same time, I’m worried about Pakistan. As hunger is the mother of all evils. When people are not fed and not clothed well, without a shelter, all sorts of crimes spring up. Then there is no place for art in the minds of these people and their souls are deads. I hope we don’t drown that deep and start to recover soon.Recommend

  • Nate
    Apr 23, 2010 - 11:08PM

    I lived in Dubai for 15 years and I agree with you. It has no soul. The way South Asians are treated there, the 250,000 laborers, is despicable. For a lot of people, this is where they earn their bread and butter, this is where they lead more comfortable lives than what their homelands can offer- and that is ok. But they ought to be aware of the human right violations, the tanking economy and the blatant racial discrimination – instead of becoming a part of the mindless accumulation of things that is Dubai. Recommend

  • Siddiqui
    Apr 23, 2010 - 11:38PM

    Do we really have to choose between Dubai and Karachi?

    Dubai is great because:
    1) it is one place that allows Arabs, south Asians, europeans etc without discrimination to work hard, maximize their potential and build up a fascinating economy in a desert.
    2) It offers personal security, tolerance and decent infrastructure.
    3) Its govt is efficient and not corrupt… probably the best of all other governments in Middle East and South Asia
    4) Pakistanis also have a share in Dubai’s success and hence should be proud of it…. from the pathans working in construction to the bankers in DIFC…

    Karachi or Pakistan is great because:
    1) Sheer ability to survive against all geoppolitical challenges of mammoth proportions.
    2) One of the richest and diverse cultures around… from food to clothing to language to literature to music…. Can Dubai claim to have produced a single talent that matches Faiz Ahmed Faiz or Junoon or Nusrat Fateh Ali? (Yet Dubai deserves credit for providing a market for Pakistani artists to explore and flourish in)
    3) Beautiful geographic landscape… from the Arabian sea to Cholistan desert to Karakoram ranges.
    4) Above all, hard working, warm and basically decent people… Recommend

  • Wajid Rasul
    Apr 24, 2010 - 12:52AM

    Atleast we have a heart. Atleast we have a soul.

    George bro. You are absolutely right.Recommend

  • Salma
    Apr 24, 2010 - 1:18AM

    I have always wondered how smart people and smarter decision makers envisage a world where one section is acutely marginalized while the other thrives like leeches on them. I am not surprised at the way Dubai has fallen and it wouldnt even matter if it gets up again. the whole idea is loathsome. The man who builds a building lives in a shack hidden away cruelly and not because of the misfortune of being born poor but because the masterminds of the city have decided to keep him that way.. People say the worst part of poverty is being ignored, and marginalized. I have had many people in my family moved to Dubai and have heard them talk incessantly about the riches of Dubai but it failed to charm me. It lacks a heart…and unfortunately those who did not see the point behind Georgs’s article are part of the problem themselves. They live off the riches cocooned in their luxury not complaining neither bothering with hoardes of their own countrymen who are treated like dogs by an uncaring system. this is not to say that karachi doesnt have its own unequalities…I am shocked when I pass by an underconstruction palace where the labourers are living in tents on the roadside. this is a morally bankrupt system…which by the way will never work no matter how many dubais we see built in this world.. how can a system which is built on unequality of such a massive level, survive. the shiekhs want highrises but dont want to see the hands that build them, they want malls but treat the labor like filth..they want the goras to enjoy themselves here but want to restrict the kalas who they actually need to serve them…what a corrupt system…and I do agree with george…Karachi is a 100 times better and mark my words “this system will never survive” Recommend

  • Salma
    Apr 24, 2010 - 1:32AM

    And I do fail to appreciate any of the expats living it up in dubai saying “but we do love pakistan”. If you do love pakistan u r not doing us any favors…u love pakistan because u love ur past… We chose to live here because we believe in its future. My sister lives in the US and tells me that she loves pakistan and eventually come back when she is old…i tell her and all those who r jetsetting in dubai…pls dont…if you cant give pakistan your youth than it doesnt need you when u r old… Recommend

  • KHItillidie
    Apr 24, 2010 - 1:33AM

    Good stuff. And it’s coming from a ‘gora’. WAKE UP PAKISTAN! God bless! And thank you Mr. Fulton, i mean no offense.Recommend

  • quratul ain
    Apr 24, 2010 - 1:57AM

    there is no way i believe that anybody who has gone there wudnt agee wid u….being in dubai is like being in an international airport 24*7, with all its tall buildings it is probably the most shallow living experienceRecommend

  • Apr 24, 2010 - 2:16AM

    Extremely bluntly yet very rightly said. Dubai feels like a city without a soul. Everything seems so plastic. Here back home, those faces I see on streets are the souls I can relate to, those bumpy streets are my home, my reality!Recommend

  • Majid
    Apr 24, 2010 - 3:04AM

    Excellent article. Hats off.Recommend

  • Majid
    Apr 24, 2010 - 3:27AM

    I came here 2 years back. And now I am going back. And I am happier than I was when I came to Dubai. I tried to write many times the same words which u wrote but I could not perhaps due to my lack of writing skills. In my area where my home is situated in Lahore, around 7 football grounds are situated in a radius of 2 km, whereas I could hardly find 1 Football ground in the radius of 20 km in dubai and sharjah! But on the contrary our football team is almost 100 counts behind UAE’s. Does it not drive you insane why we are 100 counts behind UAE in FIFA ranking? This is what I call “Pakistan Problem”. The same problems which can explain this football phenomenon, is applicable to all the failed departments of our country. Nevertheless I am happy that I have plenty of grounds where I can play. Pakistan Zindabad.Recommend

  • Zeeshan Hussain
    Apr 24, 2010 - 3:34AM

    At least i dont get rob in Dubai if i go out with my iPhone or laptop in hand. I can walk from Dubai to Abu Dhabi on foot with carrying cash and precious things and i can bet on that ill feel save, at least if im in an accident on the road, nobody beats me or ask for bribe… i got a fair trial. At least i know that my children are safe in school when they go out. Culture is in your heart you take in wherever you go in the world. At least I can eat i dont pay my halal salary in overtaxed electricity bills for which out of 24 only 8 hours of electricity i get. At least i got to show my full talent at work and i get paid for it at the end of the month. I love Pakistan, its in my heart and soul but i cant live in the survival mode all my life. For me Dubai is heaven, Dubai is good. And i think for the past 200 years that part of the world we know as south east asia was ruled on kingdoms and rulers and it was the world most richest place thats why Britons came here. Democracy is all crap if me ‘the citizen’ get shot on the road due to his inexpensive mobile i carry’. You want to listen to more look at our neighborhood. India they have the democracy but they are growing like anyone, F1 racing, IPL, World Cups, World Bank what is not there…and remind you that nobody wants to leave his motherland if his motherland becomes hell. i hope no harsh feelings.Recommend

  • Zia
    Apr 24, 2010 - 4:16AM

    Thats a nice copy George… Pakistan has own charm and Dubai has own… We shouldnt compare apples with oranges… There are always goods and bads living outside your homeland…Recommend

  • Amna Liaqat
    Apr 24, 2010 - 5:40AM

    Dear George,

    All my sympathies for your bad experience at Dubai, I’m so glad I’ve never come across such an experience throughout my visits. Lest ‘you only see what your eyes want to see’

    You observed that Dubai has only imported the evils of the west… Do you not see the development in the Middle East, Dubai being the hub of the development. Do you not see the millions of people it employs, giving growth opportunities to the very engineers who graduate from countries like ours and get minimum wage with no growth opportunities, no exposure, no job security and certainly no standard of living.

    Then comes the point about indulging in fast food and gluttony… well let’s talk about Lahore! Or maybe you haven’t seen Lahore from that aspect. People there ‘worship’ food. Now don’t get me wrong here! That’s not a bad thing. If it’s a not bad thing in Lahore, it certainly shouldn’t be bad in Dubai.

    Fast Life => Welcome to Karachi

    Fast Women … Name a place where there aren’t any. Including Pakistan. :)

    Want to talk about booze? One can of beer 400 rs… 1 bottle, rs. 800… ever attended a ‘local’ dance party? You’ll find what your heart desires including (let’s just put it this way) imported items with reference to all the three fast categories.

    Malls of Dubai vs. Local Bazaars
    How many people rush to our local bazaars every day?
    Ever visited the local bazaars of Karachi and Lahore…. Or maybe even Peshawar?

    Now let’s talk about ‘Money’ and spending!
    Have you ever heard of retail therapy? One of the greatest ways to overcome depression. And if they can afford it, whether it’s Dubai or Pakistan, people will spend money! So those zombies you talk about trying to fill the emptiness of their existence…… they also dwell in the sweeter air of Pakistan.

    At this point, I’d like to ask you, how many designer watches do you have? How many suits do you have? How many perfumes do you own…. Aren’t they all brands? Local or foreign…. Brand is brand!
    Dubai is a multi cultural country…. So what if the gori women are flashing their flabby cleavages? Did you not turn around to see the women in Hijab? Or maybe that didn’t catch your attention. Let me shed some light on Pakistan’s new projection of fashion with brands like ‘stone age’ with the idea of covering all yet leaving nothing to the imagination – refer to their billboards :)


    You talk about the numerous problems in Pakistan?
    Maybe you haven’t lost a loved one in a bomb blast here. Maybe a relative is not suffering in a hospital just because you have money for their treatment. Maybe you don’t have a friend who is well qualified but cannot earn just because he doesn’t have a strong reference…. Maybe you haven’t been arrested for a cheque returned when it was signed by you with a gun at your temple…. We have problems…. Some of us accept them, those who have opportunities to leave, will take the flight…. To Dubai… to the US …. Wherever they can.

    Dubai maybe a city of plastic…. It may be a soul-less city… but it takes one to know one…. And to my surprise…. You haven’t mentioned a single positive thing about Dubai…. That reflects a lot about a person. Think about it.

    I am a proud Pakistani who has spent 15 yrs in the Middle East, living a life off rich culture, values, relationships and much more than what is mentioned here… I have never been able to fit in among the people of Pakistan. But never felt like an outsider in the Middle East. I still love Pakistan. I’m just saying that Pakistan isn’t the best place on earth and likewise, Dubai isn’t the worst!

    Note to the 75% supporting commenters: Don’t blindly agree to celebrities or people just because they are vocal. Else there’s no difference between you and Zombies…. You have a mind… think. Analyze, research and experience and stand for your perspective. Recommend

  • Kinza
    Apr 24, 2010 - 8:51AM

    George, you are like Sunshine! Stay that way :)Recommend

  • ahmed
    Apr 24, 2010 - 12:05PM

    Can compare a city state dubai to a country Pakistan.Recommend

  • Doc
    Apr 24, 2010 - 12:07PM

    Yes, a nice “feel good” article for us Pakistanis – a Westerner writing in favor of Pakistan and against Dubai. Dubai, no doubt, is all those things you describe – and perhaps more. But how much more wretched can life be in Pakistan – no electricity, dirt and pollution, inflation and the worst and most unacceptable – complete lack of security. I’m scared to drive out late at night. I’m scared every morning that my kids will be intercepted on their way to school and held for ransom. I’m scared to sit in my car on the street and wait for 15 minutes, say, for the wife to make her way back from a shop as I may be held up at gunpoint (it’s already happened once). I’m scared at night that armed robbers will break in again (it’s already happened once). I’m scared that a stray bullet will hit me or my family one fine day and irrevocably alter our lives (if not end it). Not to mention the constant threat of a random bomb explosion just about anywhere and anytime. So NO, I’d take morally bankrupt, financially void and culturally extremely superficial Dubai rather than the insecure abyss that Pakistan. I say this after living in this hell-hole for the last decade and trying the utmost to avoid “running overseas”.Recommend

  • Faisal Obaid
    Apr 24, 2010 - 1:25PM

    No offence intended…George is wise he knows we are myopic. He shall be contesting for Nazim Karachi and later Sadr-e-Pakistan. i’ll vote for him.
    waiting for elections

  • Pooja
    Apr 24, 2010 - 2:39PM

    This probably what you called an “unbiased” view of Dubai but let me tell you something comparing apples to oranges does not make any sense. You were obviously busy roaming around malls to notice the men in polo t-shirts & women with giant sized bags, if you cared enough to roam around in areas such as Bur Dubai, Karama, Deira & Ghusais you would know what it means to live a normal humble life in this country. We don’t go ranting about how soulless your country is or how much money you guys obviously have flown a lot around the world but before you book your tickets next time make sure its not an Emirates flight because I’m sure you don’t want to get onto a plane that belongs to a heartless country, Dubai does not need your money or your opinions & if people started comparing with Pakistan to a lot of other place you would know what the truth is & where you stand amongst all of it!Recommend

  • Samar.9
    Apr 24, 2010 - 2:48PM

    when it comes to honest criticism about the shrinking soul of this Arabian city… Dubai..

    what i saw as an allusion to the city being like woman with overdone plastic surgery: “Dubai may have the world’s tallest building and the world’s largest shopping mall, but it also has the world’s tiniest soul. It’s a plastic city built in steel and glass.” was really interesting. Plasticity in ‘modernization’ does not always lead to an expansion for the soul to fill…

    ofcourse.. the advancements, modernization and other contributions are not to be denied.. but not on the account of the city’s soul..

    it’s an eye opening account of how in many cases when you take less from this word.. you get more out of it.. & vice versa

    as the young poet, Marcus Jameel wrote:

    “Place light in my heart
    So that it may defy gravity
    Of the earth
    And the heavy attatchment
    To its material things
    I beseech you to give me the strength. To see
    And the wisdom. To know”Recommend

  • Masood
    Apr 24, 2010 - 2:54PM

    George, you disappoint me. Your thoughtless rehashing of the old “plastic Dubai” commentary seen in many of the world’s newspapers is frightfully unoriginal. It’s good to have a forceful point of view, but unfortunately yours is hard to defend. It has the ring of truth to the casual observer, or “truthiness” as Stephen Colbert would say, but very little substantiation other than your limited powers of observation and sweeping conclusions drawn from a pre-determined point of view. Let’s take a few examples:

    A. People buy shirts they will never wear, and books they will never read. Really? How would you know? Did you follow them home and spy on them for a month to see if they would use their purchases?

    B. Karachi is more diverse and tolerant than Dubai. Seriously? It’s only because of a distinct lack of diversity that a large city like Karachi even gives Western journalists like you so much airtime and column inches. You are unique because of your distinctiveness in a very homegeneous society. Dubai attracts regional, and increasingly global, talent, capital, and culture. Karachiite split hairs over who is from this sect or that sect, who is Punjabi vs. Mohajir etc. To my knowledge, Dubai has never exploded into sectarian or ethnic violence. Karachi, not so much.

    C. You make a comment about the lack or art and other progressive imports to Dubai from the West. I don’t understand why you would blast the importation of Western retail (or materialism, prostitution, etc.) yet encourage more Western art. Wouldn’t more Western art in Dubai contribute to the city’s inauthenticity? Why shouldn’t local art be encouraged? Wouldn’t that be more “soulful” for the city? Your arguments don’t even seem internally consistent. In any event, Dubai has a thriving regional art scene, and is the de facto exhibition and commercial hub for Persian, Arab, and South Asian art. There are many more art galleries in Dubai than in Karachi, yet somehow it doesn’t measure up to your standards.

    D. Dubai lacks “soul.” This is the core argument. How do you define “soul”? How do you measure it? Can you perceive a city’s soul in an hour, a day, a month? Is ten days enough? It’s a vague, emotional feeling that is impossible to prove or deny. Maybe Dubai offers nothing to you, and I can respect that. Maybe you don’t “feel” anything at Mall of the Emirates. Neither do I. Certainly, if I hung out in malls and fancy hotels all day, I would also feel bored and feel the city lacks history, authenticity, texture, and culture. Branded retail and hotel experiences are designed to be globally homogeneous (e.g. every Prada, McDonalds, or Sheraton feels pretty similar, down to the background music in some cases), and therefore might feel inauthentic or lacking in local character. I wish you had ventured into the smart Jumeirah neighborhood, visited the beautiful mosques on Beach Road, spent a day at Safa Park, or explored Satwa, Karama, Bur Dubai, Deira, or any of the other older neighborhoods in the city. There, you would have found Iranian shopkeepers speaking Tagalog, Arabs speaking Hindi, and your British compatriots sampling Desi street food. Your experience of Dubai seems to have been far too narrow to make sweeping judgments, all of them condescending, toward the city’s residents and their city’s supposed (and unprovable) lack of “soul.” It’s easy to hide behind “truthy”, trite commentary that cannot be countered with fact. If you are seeking to discover Dubai’s “soul” in trendy shopping malls or seedy brothel-like hotel bars, perhaps it reflects more on you than on the city.

    In short, you make a lot of subjective, judgmental, and patently absurd arguments in order to fire up the home crowd, even at another city’s expense. Dubai is far from perfect. You rightly point out some of the city’s shortcomings, but your conclusion and throw-away comments are unfounded. And Karachi has its own flaws, some of which you highlight. It’s not a question of one being preferable to the other in absolute terms. I have lived in both cities, as well as a dozen more across all continents. All I can say is, it is easy to kick back with some servant-squeezed nimbu pani and praise Pakistan’s emerging democracy, “soulful” cities, or other high-minded accomplishments from the comfort of your generator-powered, guarded home in Defence (or is it Clifton?), but for most ordinary Pakistanis, life is a struggle. There is no security, no safety. Electricity is more off than on. Clean water is not available to all. Infrastructure is shoddy. Guns are everywhere. Jobs are scarce, and prices keep rising. Businesses cannot compete internationally. Corruption is rampant. The government does not serve the people, but rather extracts from the people. Long term issues such as water, electricity, and security remain unresolved (as they have been for decades now). Politicians spend their time debating VIP perks and conducting the usual horestrading. Human rights exist on paper, but the rich oppress the poor daily, and the powerless have little recourse.

    So Pakistan has some great things which Dubai may lack. Dubai has certain things which Karachi lacks. It all depends on what trade-offs each individual is willing to make, and their individual circumstances. For me, I can get my dose of Pakistani “soul” or “culture” on a 10 day visit to Pakistan, just like you can get your dose of hedonism on your 10 day trips to Dubai. But I need electricity, water, and security to function every day. I need to run a business that is not disrupted by cartoon strikes, transport strikes, rainfall, ethnic riots, power outages, assassinations and other miscellaneous bugaboos. I can’t spend every minute away from my child wondering if today might be the day he gets kidnapped, and every night thinking whether I should have got 2 armed guards instead of just the one. That’s more soul-crushing than soulful. But hey, that’s just me. I am happy to be living in Dubai.Recommend

  • Talha
    Apr 24, 2010 - 4:05PM

    Very right. So true. Shallowness of Dubai’s emirate can be gauged by the simple fact that it couldn’t even pay its own debts n was not allowed to keep the name Burj Dubai by its lenders!!! This is what becomes of bubbles. They burst….Recommend

  • AFN
    Apr 24, 2010 - 4:16PM

    To All the the Dubai Dwellers who have taken umbrage to this article:

    It was not an account of the pros and cons between the pros and cons of living in Pakistan or Dubai. And though it might surprise you, the pros for living in Pakistan despite all there is to despair, would outweigh the the cons in the minds of many Pakistanis.

    The point of the article was to point out the one powerful thing Pakistan has: and that is, soul!! Reality. I would NEVER want my child growing up in Dubai because the flash culture and desert mirage conceals all and reveals facades.

    Pakistan may yet even fail as a state, but it has character. And no matter what the ‘immersed’ Dubai dwellers say, Dubai just doesn’t. It has lost its soul which existed in abundance in the simple desert dwellers before the high rises appeared. Recommend

  • sabah
    Apr 24, 2010 - 4:17PM

    George, i read your article and the comments to it to. First thing i have seen is that, you haven’t really replied to the questions of the people from Dubai. And I am not being rude. I have been living in Dubai for a while and I do agree with the whole thing about money and fame but dn’t u think it’s a global thing? eveyone wants to live the dream life they want. and since when did that became wrong. I serioulsy wanna know did you to Deria, Burdubai and the downtown of Dubai and Did you visit Sharjah and Abu dhabi??? Becuase I can bet that your article would have been different if you did. The beauty of dubai i that you can have a porsh and a modest life too. There are two sides to a coin and you forgot to see the other side. People are more soulfull here cuz they are more accpetable to other culture. I hope you have read abpout the “third culture” this is what Dubai is made of. and I am sorry I am pakistani too but i agree qith Pooja that comparing karachi to Dubai is comparing apples and oranges.

    PS: what is wrong with big glasses and big bags?? Recommend

  • Apr 24, 2010 - 5:36PM

    GF, wonderful article. I love Pak and am staying here by choice. I can’t live away from the sounds and soul of the land of my birth and love it too. What we Pakistanis have to do is to value what we have , as u advocate. Peace only comes when u have that quality in urself. Recommend

  • Jehanzeb Afridi
    Apr 24, 2010 - 7:40PM

    Yup. Back in Karachi where art and democracy exist. Better no soul than damned soul sir.Recommend

  • Apr 24, 2010 - 7:42PM

    An eye-opener for all those getting a Dubai visa.

    For some reason I’ve never been attracted to the arab lands. Pakistan is far better than any country for that matter.

    Love Pakistan.Recommend

    Apr 24, 2010 - 7:47PM

    All realistic, Dubai cant be a city of “living souls”, its is good for expatriates to stay for few years,earn money and go home where the real life is around.
    One harsh fact which Dubai residents must realize,they can be thrown out from Dubai/UAE any time/anyday on frivolous chargesRecommend

  • Naveed A. Jami
    Apr 24, 2010 - 8:44PM

    Interesting article George.

    Thank you for making me feel good about my city (Karachi). There are scores more like me who love Karachi and love Dubai too.

    I want to say out loud I LOVE PAKISTAN! I have deep rooted inherent love for my country and its culture, but for all the negative and depressing news associated with Pakistan I am only ashamed and feel guilty to show my love for it.

    I love Dubai, my heart beats for it, I have my sweetest memories and have spent most wonderful times here, but I cant show my love for it as well, Even if I live 20 more years in Dubai I will never be a Dubayyan or a local I will always be an exaptriate, I will always need a visa.

    I Like you because you like my Pakistan.Recommend

    Apr 24, 2010 - 9:35PM




  • Mir
    Apr 24, 2010 - 9:57PM

    Writing this being in Dubai for the past 20 days, in Derra. To all the expats who continue to defend their city, welldone. I would not expect anything else from so called Pakistanis. Dubai is safe, it has the best services in the world and all the flashy things. What it will never have is something you will ever be able to call your own. Looking back at all my friends that I have to go see in Jumairah or some other beach resort, I feel a sense of calm. Moving back to Karachi from the states was one of the best decisions I made. Like people say, “Home is where you make it”. I couldnt have said it any better than Salma a few posts ago. Giving away your productive years to another country is nothing short of traitorous. Every house has its problems, dosnt mean you move and start living in a hotel room. Once a person makes that choice no amount of love or pride you feel for your own country matters. People make choices by free will, while other countries are making huge strides with their population and now trying to make it difficult for people who want to avail their hard work, our people are still trying to find shortcuts as to how to leave their country. The ones that settle in other countries do find time to write and reasearch “Pakistan Zindabad” articles and post it for us to read or how corrupt zadari or musharaff are and how we have finally gained democracy. All I ask is that once you leave and settle for better oppurtunity for yourself and your family, do not pride yourself on any accomplishment. You managed to do nothing for your country with the meager change that you call foriegn currency. Those sentiments are better expressed by the locals of dubai towards you, its no secret I hope.Recommend

  • ahsan raza firdousi
    Apr 24, 2010 - 10:54PM

    yes it so true, i was born in Dubai and our family shifted to Karachi when i was entering my teens in 2000. till that time life was not as artificial as it has become now ,over the years Dubai has become one of the most sacred places in the world of capitalism, where shop till you drop is the motto of everyones life and people are judged on the basis of how much wealth they accumulate .even if now Dubai doesn’t understand that the manner in which its progressing is not long term a very disastrous downfall is ahead the tall concrete buildings of the emirates.Recommend

  • Ehsan
    Apr 25, 2010 - 2:18AM

    “Dubai is a moral failure a society obsessed with wealth and status. ”
    Thanks for a great read. Dubai has never made sense — nothing original (I think the Sheikh went around the world and like a spoiled child said “Mommy, I want that, and that, and that. And that too!” It has no ‘soul’. I have always seen it as a Frankenstein sort of place…Recommend

  • m. shahnawaz agha
    Apr 25, 2010 - 4:39AM

    by george!
    this is an inexplicable truth. Recommend

  • Asad
    Apr 25, 2010 - 5:36AM


    Lovely article, thanks for telling us that how ungrateful our Pakistani Nation, we always moan about, and so much of pessimism around,but you have showed us us Pakistani that how thanksless we Pakistanis are, that we dont appreciate what we have and we always try to find negatives..

    Pakistan is a country blessed with so many things,and yet we fail to appreciate them, and thankless we are…

    Thanks for showing mirror to Pakistanis, and please tell them how ungrateful we are and we never try to find positives in Pakistan..

    We are if Pakistan is, and we should be proud of our country, every country has corruption,and no one is perfect.we are young nation independent for only 63 years, and we have a long way to go, and i am one of the Optimist that things will change in Pakistan for better inshallah one day..We compare ourselves with America and UK, who are independent for centuries and eventually they became great nations.

    One day we Pakistanis will rise inshallah..Recommend

  • Bilal
    Apr 25, 2010 - 5:56AM

    George, I am in love with your article buddy!

    It’s something we really need to understand, that materialism is not the way forward. It will eventually leave us soul-less like Dubai. What we need is security of land, capital, and most importantly life.

    I have to confess, I really enjoyed the frenzy of Dubai dwellers in the comment section!

    Keep it coming George!Recommend

  • Mohammad Irfan Adil
    Apr 25, 2010 - 6:23AM

    George, a nice and interesting Piece. I think every city has it own charm and ugliness. There is no single fit to all the human choices and likings. Some prefer *”Dubai style living”* and others love Karachi inspite of the harsh realities it currently is facing.Recommend

  • Syed Irfan Hasan
    Apr 25, 2010 - 9:43AM

    Agreed !Recommend

  • Bilal
    Apr 25, 2010 - 11:26AM

    If this article does not shine everything, I don’t know what else will, and you know what the dilemma is? Goerge Fulton has written what the pakistani media elites failed to express, what a shame, a person who is not born in Pakistan feels so much for the country and those who claim to be the “thaykedar” of the “millat” are indulging themselves in useless activities, such hypocracy.

    Goerge, you have my vote buddy, keep on writing !! may be others can learn from your views.Recommend

  • sidrah gufran
    Apr 25, 2010 - 11:50AM

    beautifully written!!the race for tallest biggest fastest is sucking dubai down, and when u compare it to the minimal health and education facilties it is providing to its people, you realize its pretty much an empty glass ball! however it does not mean karachi does not have its share of problems:)Recommend

  • Giorgio
    Apr 25, 2010 - 1:11PM

    As a 5 year’s Dubai resident I was tempted to reply to all your comments one by one but I decided first to take a 10 days holiday in Karachi, and then answer.
    By the record i was born in Rome, Italy and I think Dubai is one of the most interesting location in the world where to live and work.

    Best regards.Recommend

  • Muhammad Fuad
    Apr 25, 2010 - 1:15PM

    Lot of Exaggeration……

    Pakistan is my own Country but still its not a paradise.

    I’ve been in dxb since last three months, never heard of a robbery here, no incidence on mobile snatching, Almost everyone has got a car parked in open parking lot, without any security. Never heard of car lifting. I often leave my Laptop and mobile fones in my friend’s car, and everyone has this habit here, never heard anyone broke window and took out valuables.
    Now come to religious side, Muslims from almost all sects praying in one mosque, has anyone seen this in pakistan? I’ve been praying with such people since three months. A huge difference in numbers of People praying in masajid with relevence to pakistan.Recommend

  • Runaas
    Apr 25, 2010 - 2:01PM

    Hi George,
    I find this world tending towards extreme views. This is extremely disturbing. But it disturbs even more when it comes from educated people like you. No place is all good or all bad & the world is not black or white. That said, I do miss Karachi :o)Recommend

  • harry
    Apr 25, 2010 - 2:26PM

    Easy for rich guys to say Dubai sucks. Ask any poor man in Pakistan or Arab world if they rather like to earn 60 usd a month or 500 usd. Just don’t order champagne or visit these silly malls. thats it.Recommend

  • Apr 25, 2010 - 2:43PM

    Oh and I forgot to say: Great article! Got caught up in the heat of the moment and forgot to mention that. Cheers! :)Recommend

  • Altamash Javed
    Apr 25, 2010 - 2:59PM

    I thought the writer came to Dubai to escape from “loadshedding, bombs, and TV cynicism pervading Pakistan”. YOU DID!

    Drop me an email the next time you come, you haven’t seen jack.



  • Eileen
    Apr 25, 2010 - 4:07PM

    I am sorry but his article is complete drivel George… It is so superficial and completely about the author judging a book by the cover that it pains me to see how many “excellent!” and “spot on!” responses it generated from the public. Another example of Schadenfreude. Dubai makes no excuses for marketing itself as a clean and well-manicured tourist and business destination. It is new and shiny because it is new and shiny due to recently being built from scratch. Noone cares about a place because it has pretty scenery and lots of old ruins. In today’s world, importance is due to economic viability and quality of life which is what Dubai promotes.

    To be in the media and to attract attention is always going to be a double-edged sword since it is fair game to judge the surface by those on the outskirts. Syria just found archeological evidence that could pre-date civilization, but there aren’t flocks of people going there to work and live despite the strong evidence of “culture” history everyone says is lacking in Dubai. Scientists are finding it hard to even get funding to excavate the pyramids there due to lack of interest.

    As an American and an immigrant , I have heard countless times how the US has no culture and are “Capitalist pigs”. Then we became so wealthy, bright, and shiny that everyone wanted to emulate us or at least do business with us and/or live there. NY, Paris, and London were built up around trade (it is no coincidence that most major cities around the world are located next to a harbour to transport and trade goods). Early immigrants everywhere are treated unfairly and taken advantage of by greedy employers (African slavery and the Chinese who built the railroads in the US, Indians in the UK, the Magreb population in France, Filippinos and Bangladeshi all over the Middle East, etc). I do not condone human trafficking nor the atrocious conditions for laborers in Saudi, India, UAE or anywhere since this is a serious problem that needs strict monitoring to keep under control. I am saying that it is not a unique UAE issue stemming from Emiratis and people living in Dubai liking bright shiny objects.

    New money always buys OTT bling and luxury products all over the world- look at Russia and the Eastern block residents before and after the fall of communism buying entire Chanel and hi-end designer collections, Latin American drug money purchasing fancy rimmed cars, Chinese and other Far Eastern countries love of designer handbags and shoes. Bling or commercialism is NOT a uniquely Dubai image.

    I have lived in 9 different major cities around the world and find corruption, prostitution, and greed a part of any place that has millions of people living on top of each other since that is a part of humanity. We should always strive to better our lives and reach for common decency, but let’s not throw stones when you live in glass houses.

    Ridiculous article of no constructive value other than to say that “consumerism is shallow”, duh. Noone claims it to be a religion or moral compass; business is never warm and fuzzy. Sounds like you don’t have many friends in Dubai that are interested in showing you a lifestyle and not the $10 basic tour of all the tourist and Spring Break-type attractions.Recommend

  • Aisha Ghazi
    Apr 25, 2010 - 4:20PM

    Dear Goerge,

    It is a pity that desperate and judgemental people like you are allowed access and entry to a city which in fact offers much more than plastic to its residents and visitors. It is amazing how you sit on your high horse and pass statements like, “buy shirts they will never wear and books they will never read”!! My husband and I live in Dubai and happen to be avid readers and regular visitors of the relaxed, open and comfortably air conditioned malls which are a pleasure to walk in as and when the heart desires. We buy shirts which we regularly and keenly wear and we definitely finish reading the books we buy.

    You my dear friend, are one of those unfortunate people who love to classify a city according to your own standards, your morals and your traditions and ideals. Dubai never claimed, nor claims to be a culturally rich city with eons of history. Nor does it pose to be a democracy. It is what it is. It is part of a kingdom and it is governed and ruled and controlled as per the wishes of those in power. However the Rulers have done a fine job of governing this land mass which was nothing more than a huge bucket of sand.

    Instead of marvelling at human strength and achievement and congratulating the thousands of labourers who have stuck it out in the heat to enable the city to take root and touch and the skies, you have unfortunately become what I call a walking talking piece of bitter gourd. Instead of taking stalk of a successful story (notwithstanding the financial crisis which affected and disrupted (I do not use this word casually) all markets in its path and not just Dubai) and learning from those in power who had the vision to convert a bucket of sand into a playground for architects thus enabling human ingenuity to run wild, you sit and criticise the women for their oversized bags!

    Tsk tsk dear Goerge. Do not join the bandwagon of success bashers. Open your severely locked mind and see that which is beyond this city of glamour and diamonds. See the vision of the camel hearders, see the progress from a dessert ridden, water starved existence to a flourishing land mass with flowers blooming and trees swaying at every corner. See what you can learn from the Emiratee’s and implement it in still beautiful country, my dear homeland Pakistan, which has been infested by human termites which are eating at the very core of our great nation and squandering away is assets and jewels like its a make belief game of risk.

    Change in thought is key and positivity in outlook is desperately desired. Do not walk the walk of the egyptians in Pakistan who have forgotten what it was to be called a Proud Pakistani, who have forgotten that we are still great, who have failed to realise their strength as a nation and who sit home and complain complain complain.Recommend

  • Roy MCcFarlane
    Apr 25, 2010 - 4:27PM


    How original! Yet another journalist jumps on the Dubai “moan”train and after a brief spell in the country (probably on the 2 hour bus ride) feels he has the knowledge to downgrade the place that is home to many.
    In situations like this its best to be properly informed by the people that live, love and work in these places before placing your soap box on the corner and having a rant.

    Come on George you can do better!Recommend

  • Qamar, Vienna
    Apr 25, 2010 - 4:31PM

    most of you cant understand why George wrote this article..hey guys i bet you George gains more spirit(materialism vs spiritualism) than any Pakistani…most of the guys supposed that their self is the whole worldRecommend

  • George Fulton
    Apr 25, 2010 - 4:53PM

    @ Rory. I actually lived and worked in Dubai for 9 months in the early 2000s. I would love to place my soap box on a corner and rant but unfortunately i don’t think i would be able to do that in Dubai. Would i? :)Recommend

  • Jag
    Apr 25, 2010 - 6:01PM

    Are you for real. Why would I want to live in Pakistan, bloody corrupt place, unsafe, poverty everywhere and bad smell! I’ll take Dubai over Pak ANYDAY of the week!

    Dubai offers safety, nice roads, great opportunites and nice weather! Sure, I agree about the money and so called “fakeness” – but its the SAME everywhere! USA, Canada, India, Pakistan Etc.. all bout the bling, everyone wants to have a good life. Success haters will always find some faults and excuses. Sure Dubai isnt perfect by any means, but if you respect the local law, its a great place to be!

    These comments about Pakistan being amazing – man you guys need a REALITY check. No one in the 1st world (civilised) would want to go to PAKISTAN!

    Absolutely stupid and one-sided article.

    Go ahead say whatever you need to make youselves feel better.Recommend

  • Jag
    Apr 25, 2010 - 6:05PM

    So for all you naysayers that bemoan Pakistan and its numerous problems please temper your pessimism. Take time to celebrate our cultural, religious, linguistic plurality and richness. Stop the cynicism coursing through your corroded veins. For all its inadequacies, at least we have a democracy.

    — yeah and terrorits waiting to blow themselves and others up.. right..Recommend

  • Sameer Anees
    Apr 25, 2010 - 7:08PM

    Sahar says, and I quote: “This article has been written by someone who prefers to live in an actual city rather than a shiny paper wrapped model of so called “modernity”. ”

    yeah right! c’mon George out with the truth!Recommend

  • Ayeesha
    Apr 25, 2010 - 7:24PM

    I have to say that the sense of being alive is intense in Pakistan becuase we have the daily reminder of death in our faces. Snipers on top of childrens schools, important peoples guards pointing guns at you casually at work ,bombs in hospitals……… We dont take the fact that we will finish any given “normal” day for granted. We dont take life for granted in Pakistan – it is a daily privilege — . For a day , I would want to be in a ” fairy tale ” castle like Dubai may be to feel how that feels — but only for a day — not for a lifetime — I, as Pakistani — know what it means to FEEL ALIVE.Recommend

  • Sana Sayed, Professor
    Apr 25, 2010 - 7:55PM

    This guy can rant and rave all he wants about Dubai, but most Pakistani people living in Pakistan dont move a finger when they hear the call to prayer. If Pakistan was so awesome, I’m surprised people from Dubai dont go to Pakistan instead of vice versa. I’m sorry, George, if Dubai didnt fulfill your search and longing for culture that westerners such as yourself so earnestly seek. Take off your rose-tinted glasses and enter the real world. For someone whose racially Pakistani, I definitely don’t miss the smog, but I’m sure you’re enjoying it. Cheers!Recommend

  • Riya
    Apr 25, 2010 - 8:04PM

    hello i have also share my views but u people didnt publish it …So now i knew
    ”This Is Pakistan…” & we r pakistani & i know which im writting now will also be not published…Recommend

  • Kaneez
    Apr 25, 2010 - 9:49PM

    Great article but I’m not surprise to read because I know that Dubai is not much different than Kuwait. All the brands, malls and people the local love west life and its brand, will do everything to incorporte it to their daily life. They have forgotten what they are really like and imfused themselves with the western values and culture, this is really what middle east is all about.Recommend

  • Informer
    Apr 25, 2010 - 11:06PM

    I agree with whoever above said:

    “If UAE had even 10% of the problems Pakistan has faced for the last 60 years, it would not have survived for more than a month.”

    Apart from that, all the Pakistanis probably need to go through this:

  • Apr 25, 2010 - 11:20PM

    Although many people who live in Dubai might not love this article, but they will surely agree that Dubai is artificially fast – and it helps people grow who want to. And it makes mockery of those who are slow. Dubai has worked hard to get everything fast and it is paying the price of it. But sure enough lots of trade in Pakistan is happening just because of Dubai. For example, much of my electrical goods now come from Dubai or via it. And I can earn a bit more margin than before. And for this I have to surely thank Dubai for being duty free – and for being a one stop shopping place for our tax evaders and smugglers! Recommend

  • Kashif Ehsan
    Apr 26, 2010 - 12:35AM

    I totally agree with you.We should come out of “”DUBAI DREAM”Recommend

  • Shahid Mashedy
    Apr 26, 2010 - 2:28AM

    Thank you for Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate-ing on the positive.
    You give us hope. You are a friendRecommend

  • Dr. Asad Sadick, Germany
    Apr 26, 2010 - 3:54AM

    Whilst I do agree to some of what you say, Mr. Full Ton, but most of it is heresay. Ten days are not enuf to brand a city and its people
    the way you do. If you dont know a city then just sh. By the way did you know that Dubai has a museum, and that regular cultural and folklore music and dance events take place in Dubai. In 14 days I would find London or Berlin very decadent, repulsive, shallow and arrogant. Not to mention the alcoholics. So be carefull when you make an opinion of something you dont really know, but just want to write about for the sake of writing. Recommend

  • Sarah Amin
    Apr 26, 2010 - 6:15AM

    I’ve been to Dubai a number of times, couldn’t agree more! Fantastic work George, I look forward to reading more of your work in the future. Recommend

  • Arish
    Apr 26, 2010 - 7:39AM

    Indeed we are definitely not Dubai and will never be!! Does Dubai suffer from all these issues…electricity blackouts, mugging, bomb blasts, corrupt police, lack of law & order…i can go on and on! I am a die hard Pakistani but i must say what a pathetic attempt at drawing up a comparison! Can you even call it one? Who are you trying to kid? Your providing your readers with a biased “opinion” of your trip to a city which you probably didn’t even bother to explore! Oh Wait! Let me guess maybe it was too hot for you to step out of your luxury five star hotel a/c room! Comes as no surprise to me that many people from England, your home country have similar views on Dubai! Yet these Brits are living there by their own choice, in beach front property, driving the best cars and living it up a standard of living one can only imagine back home on that tiny,cold,wet and gloomy island! Get real and look around you! Pakistan has major issues and you’d be blind not to see them! What is Heera Mundi/Shahi Mohaalla in Lahore? Do you even know how long it has been there for? Yea some selection of UN hookers! Funny it was these hookers that the Shaikhs of the Mid East would come to Pakistan to enjoy back in the 60s & 70s! What democracy do you so proudly talk about? What good has come out of it? My advice you should have submitted this article in The Sun or some other trashy British daily! Don’t pretend to be a Pakistani just because you have a Pakistani passport! Recommend

  • RealityCheck
    Apr 26, 2010 - 8:41AM

    good write up, but any country or society should be evaluated from the perspective of its own citizens and I do not see Emaratis Complaining. Their Govt is repressive, undemocratic and practices bigotry and racism towards expats and slavery for south Asian migrant workers, but its good to its citizens. Ours is not. And that is the big picture and the finer point- Period.
    Dubai may not have a soul. But what we had or have, we have sold to the devil. I would rather not have a soul than one that is dishonest and corrupted with little sign of salvation.

    People praising George – get real, look around you, look at this newspaper site – it is a collaboration with New York Times owned and operated by Rupert Murdoch, also the owner Fox News, Sky News. All extreme right wing propaganda machines. Hopefully Express News mgmt has not sold their soul for this collaboration.

    George is not a Pakistani, and does not understand the first thing what it means to be a Pakistani. For real Pakistanis his musings are a lull as the Poet said ‘ Dil kay behlanay ko yeh Khiyal Acha hai’Recommend

  • Nadia Hussain
    Apr 26, 2010 - 10:30AM

    Dear Writer,
    Read your article, as many ppl have been talking about what utter rubbish you have written, Im a pakistani who is based in dubai, how much i love my country i love dubai as well. Dont know which side of dubai you r rantin about, true this is the case but not full on. Im thankful to whateva dubai has given us, there is a fusion of multi-culture from which we can learn alot, the security ere is good, atleast we dont go out with the fear that we wont come bk incase a terror attack comes our way, we can send our kids to the park, not havin a feelin that maybe they might be kidnapped, the schooling ere is excellent. Seems u like the load sheddin & the garbage scattered all over pakistan, well! when i go there it saddens me, as to why? cant we pakis also try to keep our city clean! Go compare the taxis in khi, for example in dubai, drivers r both pakistanis, it saddens me to see why is it in dubai they r so particlular of keepin it clean n why not in khi……Infact i feel everyone should come to dubai, see the things ere, appreciate it & implement it in their own country too (pakistan).
    You talk about ppl not prayin in mosques, yes! u dont see as many ppl in prayer rooms in dubai, but that does not mean that they are bad ppl, how do u know that?
    As an ex-pat i feel for dubai like my own, its given me a very good time & memories & hope it continues to do so.As a pakistani i only pray that we too can do something to our country by learnin from others be it dubai or any other place. (learning how to drive for staters).
    Nadia hussain

  • Hamza A. Ali
    Apr 26, 2010 - 11:04AM

    An article very well written, but there are a few things Mr. George has failed to mention, as I think he visited the place he wanted to visit and saw what he wanted to see, but I would like to inform the author about a few things here in Dubai
    1)When my children go to school at least I don’t have to worry about a fact that there might be a drug dealer trying to get him addicted to drugs and the reason for this is because of the police & security here.
    2)When I visit my local mosque to pray I don’t have to worry about a bomb that might go off because of political instability that is something we don’t have here in Dubai.
    3)I think he did not see the number of Churches and Hindu temples where all the non Muslim expats go to worship without the fear of any kind of discrimination.
    4) At least when I open up my shop or business in the morning, I don’t have to worry about a corrupt police official, income tax official or a thug from the local political party coming over and collecting protection money from me.
    I can keep going on & on about the advantages of living in Dubai, but it will just bore the readers.
    What the author has described about Dubai can be said about any cosmopolitan city in the world, one just has to take out the name of Dubai and plug in Singapore, Hong Kong or London, just like Dubai these cities have also been affected in the current financial crisis which is looming all over the world at present.
    I would like to ask the author if he has attended any closed door or private parties in the Defense or Clifton areas of Karachi or the Defense area in Lahore, I have been to those, and Sir it is my opnion that these parties would put any normal modern broad human being with an ounce of dignity to shame, and yes I have been to a few myself that ounce did come in handy, and with the women their I think prostitutes were not required to attend.
    I am not comparing Dubai to Karachi because there can be no comparison between the two, but all cities have the pros & cons.
    So with all the so called things you have mentioned in your article. All I have to say is to each his own you are happy to live in corruption pollution political instability. I just am proud to say “ATLEAST I AM LIVING IN DUBAI”.Recommend

  • viqar ahmed
    Apr 26, 2010 - 12:03PM

    Three cheers for George. My friends and relatives invite me to the Plastic city but I have managed to skip. I have seen the International Airport several times and that was enough to tell me all about the city.Bombs or no bomb I feel Good in my city. Even the bombs and the bombers are gifts from the same region and to some extent from those who own the city. Recommend

  • Kazum
    Apr 26, 2010 - 12:14PM

    George, Thx for giving hopes to us in Pakistan , specially Karachi
    you are like Sunshine! Stay that way :)Recommend

  • Ahsan
    Apr 26, 2010 - 12:43PM

    Mr Fulton,

    I think you actually didn’t plan the trip very well …. …… Next time please do some research before you go to dubai ….. Recommend

  • Shoaib
    Apr 26, 2010 - 12:47PM

    Well it depends… some one no matter goro or desi, working in a tax free environment in a city by far secure than Karachi or for that matter London, will always love Dubai.

    Dubai has developed itself from scratch…OK its been hit by recession but dont forget, this recession thing is global… its not just Dubai.. this is every where.

    For me its second home and I love the place…Recommend

  • Iqbal
    Apr 26, 2010 - 1:58PM

    George, I am surprised at how you can form such an opinion within ten days stay here in Dubai. I am a Pakistani and have lived here for around 35 years with my family and these have been 35 wonderful years with no complains. Like the rest of the world, Dubai is passing through an economic crisis, but having said that you still see a lot of investments still pouring into Dubai, that is how the whole world looks at it. The locals are fantastic people, I work very closely with them and have made many friends. Believe me you need to see some of the other Gulf countries and compare it with Dubai. Several Pakistanis like me have made Dubai their home and you do not have any problems as long as you stay on the right side of the law.
    Cheer up George, life’s not all that bad here in Dubai.Recommend

  • Dua Ahmed
    Apr 26, 2010 - 2:32PM

    This is a classic example of the danger of relying on a single story. The danger is that it creates a stereotype of a place or people that is far from reality. This is possibly your experience George, but certainly not the voice of thousands of people who live here. Dissapointing.Recommend

  • Khan
    Apr 26, 2010 - 2:51PM

    Hi, George,
    Hello everyone,

    It sure is an opinionated article. But I didnt understand whats the point of it. George, are you trying to tell people to leave Dubai or never visit here? kinda silly isnt it, considering how alot of young pakistanis (not to mention other nationalities) love coming here for the beaches, malls, bars, hookers, food, cars. the list goes on. Yeh, mabye it is all about luxury, most successful things in life are. Ofcourse Dubai is missing Art culture, non-restricted Media and probably alot more, so is Pakistan. I’ve got roots in karachi, I visited Karachi 9 times in 2006 before I realized that its not the infrastructure or the employment rate that bothers me, its not even the smelly air, the loadshedding or to some extent its not even the crime. Its simpy the state of mind that most people in Pakistan are in, no, I’m not talking about the new generation youth, I’m talking about the masses, the non-educated, no-fed, jobless to the political, currupted govt officials. You see, in a plce like Dubai, though artificial, children grow up in schools which are managed by multi ethnic groups, kids here learn alot about life in a different way, its not about the easy way or hard way, its about the sensible way. I was born and raised in Dubai, my nationality remains Pakistani, And I’m proud to be who I am not because of where I’m supposed to be from. I know hundreds of Pakistanis who love pakistan but migrate to the West, I know hundreds of emiratis who get overpaid for jobs they dont deserve. The point is that this is life, we see good and bad. Pointing fingers is a piece of cake, really is but why do it and feel good about it unless you like playing god. I hope my response doesnt offend you, I’m sure you didnt mean harm with your article, probably just wanted to educate people. And to all the pakistani’s writing on this page which seems like almost 90% (I’m sorry but i dont see other nationalities even bothered as the article simply compares Dubai and Pakisan), get a life people. What are you even fighting for? your country? seriously. Its fun to be all patriotic when it comes to blogs on the net, tele conversations and stuff, try fighting a war or joining a street march, you’ll see the real deal and its not pretty.

    Anyway, I could go on but whats the point, one of you fools is goings to pass a wise cracking comments on my reply so get on with it. Before I go though, To George Fullton, stop creating hatred buddy, the world isnt a very nice place anymore, so try to find some positivity whereever you can because playing blame games between two equally good countries isnt much of a rib tickler.



  • Nakai,SZH
    Apr 26, 2010 - 4:33PM

    Dubai is like a mirage in the desert….all artificial & unrealistic.Recommend

  • adeel azhar
    Apr 26, 2010 - 4:46PM

    Hey George, dont get discouraged by the negative comments…you write good and continue doing so!!Recommend

  • OAK
    Apr 26, 2010 - 6:38PM

    Hey Mr Khan…i think you took it the wrong way …….i think george was just pointing out the good things that we have stopped caring about in this country of ours……he did’nt said anything new or any thing which will make you or us hate dubai…I didnt see anything which spelt hatred in this guys column he was just pointing out the things which u quite normally see in Dubai…(and for some reason ) you have become so accustomed to it …even if some one is pointing out the bad habits of other people you dont like it … u start pointing out the bad things in your own country like the rest of the world…..even a gora can see the higher moral grounds on which most of the pakistanis still r , minus small amount of the ruling elites …in our country ALHAMDULLILAH majority is on the right track they are just waiting for the right leadership….cause Pakistan being a client state is to much tied up in doing other things which are not in its favor….and thats not the fault of a average paki. whereas where u live the world is much more materialistic just as George pointed out and people like you are satisfied ( :-( )…yes alot of pakistani’s do migrate to other countries to find better income avenues cause again we being a client state cannot use our own resources and need outside assistance…..sir, before criticizing your own country and people u should be getting your facts straight ….and yes i would like you to be more positive about your own people (not just by writting “I love my country”.rather than a country in which you are bred and born they didnt even thought of u being worthy enuff to give their citizenship …for that u have to invest..:-D…… far as load shedding is concerned simialr issues are being faced by many countries including USA (LA has major power issue) & south africa etc….and lastly and most interestingly hookers… pakistan there are alots of hookers no doubt ….but generally theyare wearing burqa’s …and in the shopping malls they cannot be differentiated very easily …Recommend

  • Fadi Al Hasim
    Apr 26, 2010 - 8:24PM

    George Fulton, you are a true Paksitani, haha.
    Because they never show respect where it is due.
    They love to insult everything, so as to feel better about themselves.

    FYI: I’m half-Pakistani, half-Arab.

    This article was truly annoying, but some of your depraved readers have lapped it all up.

    You claim Pakistan has a democracy? LOL
    What sort of journalist are you?
    You claim the police system of Dubai is worse than in Karachi?


  • Apr 26, 2010 - 9:16PM

    Hi Mr Fulton,

    While your writing is very passionate, it’s not very objective. I recently compared Dubai to Toronto and while Dubai has its problems – people would rather live in Dubai than Karachi any day. Ask the average Pakistani man and he would jump at the chance to live in Dubai – proof is in numbers. Dubai is a safe city, a good environment for families and as for its soul – well – Dubai has always been a land of business.Recommend

  • Aleena Ahmad
    Apr 27, 2010 - 3:10AM

    George! What a fantastic piece. I couldn’t agree more with all the observations about Dubai.Recommend

  • Yusaf Khan
    Apr 27, 2010 - 6:14AM

    It seems all the shopaholics are really angry at this article . Long live unlimited consumption and capitalism.Recommend

  • Nadia Atif
    Apr 27, 2010 - 8:44AM


    ~* My two cents on this is: It would be a Great Article WITHOUT the comparision! *~

    Warm Regards!Recommend

  • Nabeel Arshed
    Apr 27, 2010 - 10:59AM

    Great piece, this is just the feeling I had for that empty place called Dubai. Recommend

  • ali raza
    Apr 27, 2010 - 11:19AM

    thanks for boosting our moralRecommend

  • Akhlaq Ahmed
    Apr 27, 2010 - 12:02PM

    …Simply brilliant. Hats off to George.Recommend

  • Ali Ameen
    Apr 27, 2010 - 1:05PM

    Dear Mr. FULTON, your observations may be correct to some extent, but please for a change ask the children in our part of Pakistan, whose faces have turned pale because of the various forms of “INSECURITY” and other perils in our society. I think you haven’t compared Pakistan to Dubai, your focus seems to have been on “KARACHI VS DUBAI”. I suggest, doing some more episodes on “DUBAI VS PESHAWAR”, “DUBAI VS RAWALPINDI”, “DUBAI VS D.I KHAN”, “DUBAI VS SWAT”, “DUBAI VS GUJRANWALA”, “DUBAI VS MULTAN”, DUBAI VS BAHAWALPUR”, “DUBAI VS QUETTA” and so on and so forth.
    After reading your analysis on life in these cities of Pakistan, can we actually comment on Dubai and its perils. Recommend

  • ebad
    Apr 27, 2010 - 2:55PM

    Mashallah! George,your article exposes the naked reality of this shining world!, everything is fake and artificial, nothing natural.DUBAI= PLASTIC CITY!, nice article GEORGE, keep up the good work! Recommend

  • Apr 27, 2010 - 3:05PM

    Way to go George, really nice article u’ve written up there… boosting the moral of eeach and every True Pakistani

    Actually the case in Pakistan – whether it is Karachi or any other city of Pakistan – is that it is you and only you who have not done anything here in Pakistan and went abroad like Dubai for an example for countless years to enjoy the perils it offers, how many people went to Dubai when it was a mere piece of sand and consisted of small amount of fisherman’s, a person rightly said,

    **> If victory is certain, even a coward

    will fight. But real bravery is when
    one dares to fight when defeat is

    none of the one’s defending Dubai for the safety, security, malls, and blah blah blah it offers had struggled for it, they just took Dubai’s large roads, malls, security, Money, success’s, advantage, they have not struggled hard for it’s success, like they would’ve did if they were in Pakistan..Firstly.

    Secondly, about the recession thingi, when the recession came to Dubai it was down like nothing else, but still there are no major signs of recession on Pakistan, if there would’ve been, there was no Pakistan today, and Salman sahab rightly said above that,

    **> Pakistan is a “country” in every

    definition of the word….and Pakistan
    certainly Rock……Dubai cannot survive
    if it even has 10% of Pakistan’s

    for all those people defending Dubai and condemning Pakistan being from Pakistani origin, Give 5% not even 10 of the problems Pakistan faces and has today, to any country not just Dubai, any country, USA even, it won’t survive like Pakistan has for almost 60 years now, their people don’t have the courage to make it happen, PAKISTANIS HAAVE

    LONG LIVE PAKISTAN, and DUBAI DEFENDERS, stay in Dubai and please don’t ever come to Pakistan, even if you are the world’s richest person, please, Pakistan doesn’t need you..Recommend

  • Shauna Kelly
    Apr 27, 2010 - 3:32PM

    Excellent piece.
    Should be renamed ‘Do U Buy’Recommend

  • Bobby Zamora
    Apr 27, 2010 - 4:08PM

    Hello Sir

    The article flows well but is quite biased.

    Its interesting how you talk about mosques and religious affairs yet you compare alcohol prices.

    Another thing is that you dont have to live in a certain place to choose a particular lifestyle.

    I am not pro Dubai or against it. But I do understand your message in that Pakistan is known for its violence and poor current state and Dubai is credited for its materialism yet it has no genuine development and therefore lacks character. Is this something new? Why Dubai? Chelsea FC are another example. But money being able to buy things is not something brand new that we need to be bitter about.

    But still I feel it is unfair to generalise the entire population of Dubai, a massively large proportion of whom are Pakistani workers.Recommend

  • Hamid
    Apr 27, 2010 - 4:21PM


  • john Donne
    Apr 27, 2010 - 7:31PM

    Sabah el’khyer Syyed George,
    you touched upon a rather controversial topic, which is a good thing. And got many comments, which is as it should be.
    I do not indulge in making comments for fun. Have better things to do. But had to this time.
    I read your article, which is well written,and from your vantage point makes sense.
    I spent 28 years in the Emirate of Sharjah, worked there as an Engineering Consultant, enjoyed the benefits–parks, Lebanese cuisine, shopping in Malls, got daughters educated up to high school level there, swam often at Mamzar Park beach; and came across excellent men and women–English, Indian, Egyptian, Syrian, Iraqi, Yemeni, Emirati, and Bahraini.
    Had lived and worked in America, visited almost all countries of Western Europe and some of Middle East. Didn’t find dearth of good people anywhere.
    I’ve enjoyed listening to the the ninth symphony of Beethoven in which he bursts into singing,”Alles meshen wurden bruder”, along with Schiller. Hopefully my spelling of the quote is right.
    I finally came back to Karachi two years ago, my adopted home town; and am at ease.
    As long as we have children,women and men; and fauna and flora of all kinds nothing else matters.Recommend

  • Ahsan
    Apr 27, 2010 - 8:12PM

    Nice article George, I can actually relate to some of what you stated in your article. I have visited dubai couple of time for few days max and i also felt the artificialness that you talked about. The weather is very extreme and there is hardly much outdoor activity during the summer. It is all about money, malls, cars etc etc. I would very much prefer to live in Pakistan over Dubai.Recommend

  • Baboog
    Apr 27, 2010 - 9:57PM

    poorly written.

    “buying shirts that they will never wear and books they will never read”

    How do you know?Recommend

  • Apr 27, 2010 - 10:55PM

    Sorry George – you still ignored universal aircon and a steady supply of water.

    What you write about Pakistan is truly great but all the cultural enthusiasm doesn’t last long in the face regular power outages and rabid inflation. It might serve us well if you can write about the hundreds of social workers/entrepreneurs/inventors who’re doing exceptional work within a difficult society – they truly represent the humanity, life and determination Pakistan has to offer. Recommend

  • Apr 27, 2010 - 11:05PM

    Btw, loved your show!Recommend

  • Tania Saleem
    Apr 27, 2010 - 11:07PM

    First of all, what is George FUlton’s journalism experience?? I mean the paper says he is a freelance journalist – but from what i remember he was doing exercises and discussing cookery on the tube. It’s disturbing how just anyone can call themselves a journalist.

    Secondly, Pakistan is as soulless as it gets.

    I couldn’t give a hoot about having a so-called democracy where elections are rigged – even in the last elections, i knew people who had cast their votes forty times over. I also really find it hard to appreciate living in a non-police state where the police rapes & shoots little street boys and calls it an “encounter.” Or where you can’t send your kids to school for weeks because the school might get bombed. Or where you feel the need to lock your car door at a traffic light.

    I could go on & on, but basically whatever problems dubai has – lack of justice, abuse of human rights, materialism – Pakistan has those problems too & at a much deeper level. So I really don’t see why we should worry about dubai’s lack of “soul” (whatever that means) & why it should even make us feel better.

    Just because we have poverty to the extent that people are selling our trash to feed themselves, doesn’t necessarily mean we have “soul”.

    It’s called exploitation.

    & besides, if you don’t like dubai – leave. But please don’t use it as an excuse to feel better about pakistan.Recommend

  • Ayesha H
    Apr 28, 2010 - 12:44AM

    Thank you George for the gentle reminder that all things considered we have a lot to be grateful for.Recommend

  • Hamza Hasan
    Apr 28, 2010 - 1:27AM

    I would like to remind some of the commentators of their numerous fallacies. Firstly, only a truly historical understanding will yield a fair analysis of the cities. I would like to remind you that this piece is an editorial, an opinion of the author, and instead of resorting to draconian methods, I would recommend you allow his opinions to be made freely. Otherwise, you only further George’s point that Dubai lacks soul.

    To clarify the opinions of the intellectuals around the world that have studied and traveled to Dubai, the city is “soulless” because it lacks historical and cultural context. Pakistan, in comparison, is rife with history. Though it is a young country, I dare not need to explain to any of you the empires from which it resulted, as well as its relics from thousands of years ago (i.e., Harappa and Mohenjo Daro).

    As I theorize, Dubai is not soulless because of its people, but because of its process. The city is far too young and has done too little to prove itself as a cultural hub. That is not to say Pakistan is the only place in the world with a cultural history; George compares Dubai to Karachi to show that even a dilapidated house is stronger than that built of rotten wood.

    Where is the Arab in Dubai? Where is its vernacular? The buildings are a joke (I study architecture, and all my colleagues agree with me–they’re postmodernist, if worth studying at all), and the only redeeming quality is the engineering and technological magnificence. However, for all of its material prowess, these things don’t relate. They’re objects for admiring, but never inhabiting. Where is the storybook romance of the city? Where are the Jungian archetypes that lead people generations apart to do the same activity in the same location? Where is the timelessness?

    Of course, Dubai’s crime is very low, but so is its cultural moral. Being from Atlanta, I understand what it is to be fake and live in an area where culture is repressed. We have few locales where inhabitants of the city get together and share ideas, express art, and inject personality into the city. We have new economic developments. But what about the cultural ones?

    It’s lovely to be able to take your children to the park and enjoy a nice day of shopping, but is that really one’s goal in life? Should a city of brilliant engineering and nearly unlimited technological freedom be the location of the everyday? Tell me, what writer in his or her right mind would speak of Dubai as Hesse speaks of Germany? What painter would subjugate him- or herself to Dubai’s beaches as Monet did to the Seine? Would Shulman have photographed the Burj Khalifa?

    This argument is not that Dubai is evil. The argument is that Dubai is without context, it is without strife, it is without the burden of the city. It is too easy. And life is never easy, unless it is an empty one. I do not argue out of emotion, but reason–New York, Chicago, London, Paris, and Barcelona are all crime-ridden, but they are cities with immense potential for growth. Not economically, perhaps, but most surely for the individual seeking the context that binds the exuberant mind to a location.

    Lastly, I will defend George in his comparison of Pakistan to Dubai. Pakistan’s status quo is dubious at best, yet that is no reason to remove context from what was once an economic hub as well. Remember, the road from Europe to China traversed through the north of the Sub-Continent. However, its culture was built through the labor of locals for thousands of years. How can we expect this of Dubai? It is too young, and quite frankly, its people are too naive to know any better. Gucci does not make one cultured–reciting poetry does. It is all an issue of what people want from their society: ease of passage or complete immersion. Of course, Dubai has a lovely horizon, and I can’t see it from my studio in Atlanta. But I know it’s there, and it’s far more worth it to imagine it and work for it, rather than to have it and feel nothing at all. Those sensations that stimulate the mind and soul are far more long-lasting than those in flesh. However, many of the critics (if such a respectable title may be used) of George probably haven’t read enough books to adjudge as such.Recommend

  • Hamza Hasan
    Apr 28, 2010 - 1:54AM

    After torturing myself with a few more comments from the abysmally misled readership, I will point out three things that I might not have made clear the first time:

    This is an editorial piece, and as such, does not require complete objectivity and research. That method would just become a normal article. I assume those of you who criticized George have never understood journalism as a practice (I did, so don’t doubt me on my experience).

    Secondly, your 90 percent expatriate population doesn’t speak well for 10% native. There must be a regional hub of culture that extends to others. Having too many people from other nations eliminates their own cultural sensibilities, as well as the regionalism development in the core location itself. Also, you must look at the identity of the expatriates and wonder why they left their homeland if they are from such posh countries as France, Germany, England, and others. Perhaps they are cultural degenerates? Not all, of course, but you must be clinical and not trust sugar-coated statistics.

    Lastly, I introduce a quotation for those of you with enough lateral thinking abilities to pry open this piece by Eliot:
    “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”

    I’ve slept in cars and have not always had clean water. The issue isn’t that you know what’s better, it’s that you know the difference. Spending thousands of dollars a year being a tourist is worth far less than thinking of what location, economic development, and culture actually mean. Then again, it’s probably too much to ask most Emirati to read Hegel.
    Oh, and for fairness, how do you Emirati account for the tens of thousands of slaves building your abominable buildings? Since most of you reading this article are Pakistani, how does it feel to inhabit buildings your enslaved kin have developed for you? If you do not view them as fellow nationals, how about as humans?

    Dubai, unfortunately, is a house built with rotten wood. It will never become a Paris, London, or New York. Neither Shanghai nor Delhi. Never Moscow or Chicago. This is not for its lack of Prada, but for its lack of meaningful, local, intelligent, exciting people.

    Only fake people don’t understand what it is to be fake.Recommend

  • aamir
    Apr 28, 2010 - 2:09AM

    George, Thank you, needed this uplift in the mood and energy levels!Recommend

  • Subhash
    Apr 28, 2010 - 2:12AM

    Utterly truthful and gritty, but what really got my goat was you comparing Karachi to the place. I mean seriously, you sire, are probably suffering from the worst bout of Stockholm syndrome i have ever witnessed. Karachi isn’t better than my rear for a living, let alone compare it to a seemingly over-sterile and sandboxed yet safe city.Recommend

  • sam
    Apr 28, 2010 - 2:37AM

    I thought Dubai bashing ended a year back….. some of us are still catching up i suppose.

    Whatever Dubai does or does not have, if there is a market for it, it has all the rights to sell it.

    As for PK, great place, fantastic cities and home to many of us however it doesn’t mean one should put up with the struggle if they don’t have to.

    Some of us can and do contribute towards home irrespective of where we are physically placed.

    Besides, it’s a young city, what’s with the negativity anyways? The US, UK and rest of the world doesn’t have it’s own set of issues? Last i checked the financial melt down stinks of human greed and the entire world is to blame for it.

    A Muslim country liberal and daring enough to step up and open a whole new market, you sound like you’ve never tripped up in life before or rather exasperated for missing the boat!

    The focus lately is Greece by the way and thats shaking the very foundations of EU at this point.

    What form of opulence have you not witnessed in KHI, Lahore or ISL?

    Prostitution, alcohol, drugs… are we saying PK doesn’t have it or do we wish to shove it under the rug and forget about it?

    When was the last time you went to a party in KHI? folks are still figuring out which part of nyc, london or montreal they fell from and how do they recreate it in PK every night.

    At least with Dubai it is what it is and its open for business for those who wish to leverage an opportunity. It’s not all that bad and hasn’t sunk back into sand just yet.

    take it for what it is – get over it.

    Meanwhile back at the farm the dirty goons are still at it as the lights are still out.


  • Rowin Masrani
    Apr 28, 2010 - 4:49AM

    Haha, Its a good angle to look from but I relatively disagree with the article. Its clear he has seen Dubai through very bias eyes, merely gripping what he calls ‘culture’. Dubai boasts enormous infrastructure, something which has set a benchmark for every Asian country. With this infrastructure it developed jobs, and also got a feel of a true first world country. By and large Dubai is a stable country with happy citizens that are time and again increasing their standard of living. The same goes for India (even though its relatively behind Dubai in terms of infrastructure). A countries ‘success’ cannot be judged merely in terms of its culture, because everyones definition of culture is different. Thats the main disagreement we have even when it comes to India and Pakistan and our basic notion of a ‘free society’. While Pakistan is an Islamic republic and boasts a conservative culture, this culture will be seen through very negative eyes by an Indian journalist who has been part of a successful functioning old secular democracy which probably one of the ‘freeist societies’ in the world (which is a negative and a positive aspect haha). To judge Dubai through the ‘Pakistani’ lens and judging its success by saying it has plastic walls and rich people and hence its nothing is quite bias.

    Take for example this: “The upwardly mobile South Asian man prances around wearing a silly shirt with a large picture of a polo player on a horse, whilst their women wear oversized sunglasses and carry oversized handbag” – few questions. 1) Whats wrong in buying a polo shirt? 2) how does he know that the bag is over sized, there are so many girls who are ardent fans of big bags. Who is he to decide what people need and dont need? People in Dubai are rich and I see no problems in they buying things that to an Indian eye would be ‘unneeded’ and yet at the same time to an American eye by a ‘compromise’. This is basically what I mean – he takes the very essence of a ‘first world emerging’ Dubai and turns it to Ashes by saying “arey isko kiski zaroorat hai”. What does America have? Tall buildings, rascist propoganda, black oppression, social isolation, yet very few people come to America and say all this, they judge it for its standard of living, successful judiciary, professional police, etc

    The author has a feel of ‘blind bias’ by saying that Dubai doesnt have a heart and soul. Yashna is from Dubai and she has told me everything about the country, and how it is a stable, beautiful , upstanding successful state which keeps it citizens happy and has continuously improved their standard of living.

    I dont see anything wrong with having a 3000 $ champagne, or ‘muching away’ in fast food restaurants. Dubai is an epitome of progress, and as an Indian, its something I hope my country achieves one day, while also preserving its Indian culture. You cannot compare ‘culture’ with another countries ‘infrastructure’ and say “all they have is plastic walls and western influence”. It is my belief that the heart of every country should be its standard of living since citizens always come first, and the soul should be the identity it wishes to uphold, for Pakistan, it would be its Muslim culture. Its not ‘one or the other’

    I agree with his quote “Take time to celebrate our cultural, religious, linguistic plurality and richness”. Pessimism spreads and with the numerous problems in and around major cities in Pakistan, its important the people remember Pakistan’s accomplishments over the years as a powerful military state and get a feel of pride for their new functioning democracy. But this comparison with Dubai is rather bias, unrealistic, ignorant and more than anything – immature. He can say the same thing about America too = “You see the goras with their perma-tans, streaked highlights and their flabby cleavages.”, and most Americans would proudly agree to this and say “erm, yeah…so what?”. Like I said, culture is relative. India and Pakistan both together should keep what they call ‘culture’ and side by side use countries like China and Dubai as a benchmark to progress and improve the standard of living of our millions of people who live in poverty.

    Thats my view anyway!Recommend

  • Apr 28, 2010 - 8:54AM

    Assalamoalaikum! Dear George, I loooorved your opinion! And why, because I think exactly the same way… Ive been to dxb twice, but I was actually bored bythe end of bot my trips since i so missed witnessing culture and tradition! The sky scrapers terrified me and the people annoyd me with their super-ficiality! The price tags gave me heart attacks and lack of deen bothered me! Great knowing that somebody shares our feelings! Recommend

  • Apr 28, 2010 - 9:52AM

    As regard the comparison of Sheik Mohammed Al-Maktoum with Shelly’s ideas are quite strange because there is a shade of differences between the two and stands pole apart. P.B.Shellely was destructive in their imaginary and impracticable ideas while Sheik is quite constructive and practical in their ideas and planning. Sheik never shuns their existing institutions as Shelley tinged in their poems in a dreamt of golden future.

    It is creditable and appreciates the colossal efforts of Dubai’leaders to make their plastic or artificial country into the reality.Recommend

  • Apr 28, 2010 - 10:39AM

    I second the opinion the Dubai is too materialistic, mainly because 90% of the inhabitants are there to earn living for their families back home so they are in a mechanical mode, going through their lives like robots and never giving a damn about developing relationships or social responsibilities.

    On the flip side, Dubai is better than Karachi, and most of the Pakistan, as people have respect for women and children. Empathy is something thats missing from Pakistan these days and we have to have it urgently to curb the chaos and bring some normalcy to this Land of Pure.Recommend

  • Zein
    Apr 28, 2010 - 10:56AM

    Hi George. I think your opinion stems from experiencing an easy life in Pakistan, but you make good points and I agree with you. I grew up in Dubai but worked in Pakistan for many years and I had a very easy life there. I loved it. In fact, I have this same argument with my folks all the time. Living in Pakistan when you’re earning well makes it easy to appreciate all the things that make Pakistan an amazing place. But for most people living in Pakistan who have no access to resources, I think they’d trade places with someone in Dubai in a heartbeat. Our perspective is yet another luxury that most Pakistanis will never have. But being in Dubai makes me miss Pakistan very much. Dubai is certainly safe and has allowed many South Asian communities opportunities they could not have back home. But Dubai will never be home for most of us and living here means living with constant reminders of that.Recommend

  • Muhammad Waqas Durrani
    Apr 28, 2010 - 11:46AM

    I must say George you have stirred quite an argument. Your article MashAllah is very well written and highlights where our true values belong. I have lived half my life in the Riyadh and the other half in Karachi. I’ve frequently visited Dubai and I totally concur with your assessment.

    I’ve also followed your blog to see quite a lot of so called Pakistanis taking offense to your views. I’m afraid these individuals have no shame or understanding of their true roots and that’s why they have fled to seek refuge elsewhere. Such people are happy to live as show offs with a second class citizenship status as long as people back home don’t know the truth.

    In a populace country like Pakistan there are many social and economic problems but calling the people in it soulless and that too from a Pakistani living abroad is despicable. I guess they need to find every rationale to justify at least to their own soul that they are happy in Dubai as life in Pakistan was hell because they couldn’t succeed in their own country.

    There is nothing wrong with living abroad and earning a good livelihood. However, foregoing your origin and blaming it all on poverty, corruption, terrorism is a disservice to Pakistan and to our forefathers.

    Dubai may or may not be a good city but each city of Pakistan will always be part of our beloved homeland and it’s really up to us to ensure how quickly we can bring social harmony and economic prosperity.Recommend

  • Fahd Shafiq
    Apr 28, 2010 - 11:55AM

    Dear George,

    Your article was yet another pathetic attempt by someone with a “Sour Grapes” attitude while being obsessed with Dubai and can not understand how such a tiny spec of sand became a city of life in the Arabian Desert. I am a Pakistani and I love my country for its flaws too, but to cover them up by flinging dirt at someone else’s success won’t make them go away! Dubai like any major city of the world has its share of lows and highs but the way you have depicted it is simply unjust and biased.

    The fact of the matter is that Dubai is a young city, which has welcomed people from all over the world and is becoming a melting pot of various cultures. It has caught up and in some cases, surpassed some major capitals of the world when it comes to infrastructure and development. Its not long before it also becomes a cultural haven as well. I would envy the ruler of Dubai and wish we had such visionary leadership in our country instead of the degenerates running it now.

    You talk about financial crisis as if, Dubai is on another planet. Hello George! Wake up! You have a global recession around you and just coz you get some extra coverage for being a ‘gora’ in Pakistan by the confused liberal few in my country doesn’t make you an expert either. Don’t fret about Dubai’s financial future either, I work in Dubai’s financial industry and we are already on the way up! Save your breath for Greece!Recommend

  • Z.f.farooqui
    Apr 28, 2010 - 12:20PM

    Brilliant. Thank God someone realized that Pakistan is not a failed state. So what if we’re 40 billion dollars in debt( it’s still 40bn $ less than dubai), have rampant levels of corruption and a line of fallen politicians. The people of this nation are still human. And when all is said and done that is what mattersRecommend

  • Arghoon
    Apr 28, 2010 - 1:39PM

    Well said, sir, well said! Recommend

  • Husnain Lotia
    Apr 28, 2010 - 2:17PM

    Hey George

    Great piece! where I agree cpmpletely with you in your opinion of Dubai – and I have been there many many times – a city without a soul, I still feel we do need to be critical, if not cynical, about The Land of the Pure. Why should I be complacent just because we are better than Dubai? Dubai is not a jury of my peers. I do not wish to see Dubai a standard by which to judge Pakistan. Why should we set our sights so low? I would rather judge it against secular, democratic societies. Hell, even against India!

    Warm Regards
    Husnain LotiaRecommend

  • Humera
    Apr 28, 2010 - 2:47PM

    Hey George,
    I came across your article and i couldn’t agree more with you.
    Despite of all problems we face living in this country,we are caring and friendly people

    Keep on writing good stuff, we love to read :) Recommend

  • Shakeel
    Apr 28, 2010 - 4:02PM

    Dear George,

    Exciting, uplifting and unreasonable, your artical made me cry, it made me proud of my City for no apparent reason, your love for Karachi is also unreasonable , Patriotism doesn’t need reasons!! In fact it helps Immensely if one is BLIND, DEAF AND Possess A HEART OF STEEL….I am so happy, soul is still available in Karachi

    And yes I agree Dubai is a bit OTT, White man and their ministry of sound. crinkly bottoms and wrinkly cleavages!!! Recommend

    Apr 28, 2010 - 4:34PM

    It seems george fulton is working for zardari … ha ha haRecommend

  • z
    Apr 28, 2010 - 5:35PM

    mr fulton –

    you have literally stabbed this city in the back – it did’nt take much for you to return in three days if it was such a turn off and were pining for the sweet polluted air of my hometown. you failed to find deeper meaning in this city………not because its missing, but because you did’nt try hard enough. late night partying blurs your vision and everything feels crappy the next morning.
    an article addressing the same positive notes about pakistan without degrading another would have been far more mature and appreciated.

    have you know that you are the subject of most ‘soul less’ coffee mornings here in dubai………..your name is on the lips of most flabby cleavages!Recommend

  • Muhammad Ramzan
    Apr 28, 2010 - 6:57PM

    As per the laws of all the gulf countries, these are very tough, this is for sure. As a Pakistani there is no better place on the planet than Pakistan.As far as the instability in Pakistan and security in Gulf is concerned, the reason is simple, Israel only fears from Pakistan and its ideology. Most of the world Jewish companies in the world has their business in the gulf. They know that these people have nothing to do with them. Therefore Pakistan is being punished for its ideology. Recommend

  • Mubashir
    Apr 28, 2010 - 8:42PM

    We are rudderless, Confused, attracted to the materialism of West and climging to the eastern traditions that centuries have enshrined in us. Let Dubai be Dubai! Think, what do we want Pakistan to be? As far as I know we are not in touch with realities in Pakistan either, we are only hoping against hope…..Always!Recommend

  • Azher
    Apr 28, 2010 - 8:46PM

    Well done George
    Don’t wanna say much about the Zoo…the Wonderland…Do-oh-Boy (Dubai)…since most of us have already hailed you while others have frowned…or cursed you for not liking a ‘clean’ and ‘safe/secure’ city.

    I have lived there for many years before moving to Canada and trust me I never felt at home…the way I feel now (in Toronto)
    Their laws protect them by all means
    Their ques are for bloody, poor, ugly looking South Asians who make their livings on their whims. Dhs.700.00 for laborers and Dhs.70,000.00 for Engineers
    As for Art…please note that Art develops over centuries of cultural experiences/patronage/philosophy/political awareness and conducive social norms. People having with history can only ‘import’ it and that too is based either on ‘laws of slavery’ or ‘racism’ not to mention imperialism, monarchism etc….hehehehe…guess these ‘isms’ are greater than all those ‘isms’ we have in Art Movements.

    As for living/visiting such places, I would prefer to live/visit places where I can get respect for what I am…no matter if I have interrupted power supply, bad traffic…Of course it doesn’t imply killing ourselves in suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism.
    Bottom line is we have a beautiful country Pakistan…..and together we can make it beautiful by erasing these religious zealots/fanatics/morons aka mullahs/clergies.
    WE DEFINITELY DON’T NEED THEM…they can find their heaven somewhere else…they should not be allowed to kill others to find their place in (fool’s) paradise.

  • Amjad
    Apr 28, 2010 - 10:22PM

    Right on! You stole my thoughts and have expressed them well. Recommend

  • Shahid Saeed
    Apr 29, 2010 - 12:29AM

    “Let’s start with the malls. These cathedrals of capitalism, these mosques of materialism are mausoleums of the living dead.”
    ~ I too see Dubai as materialism at it’s height! Recommend

  • Naveed Saeed
    Apr 29, 2010 - 2:07AM

    An Amazing reality (Karachi); a Brutal Truth (Dubai); what a comparison. In fact, Dubai gets more publicity – for many (known) reasons – but it’s not just Dubai. A lot of the truths can be tied to other countries/cities in the region as well. The race of ‘ions and ‘isms (i.e. discrimination, division, status-ism, nationalims, etc.) is visible everywhere. On the other hand, the few ‘favored’ continue to enjoy a copious life, the middle-class lives like travellers (never know when you have to move, with second-hand cars, furniture and electronics, etc.) and – as George mentioned – the vast many labor living like stand-by passengers (with a bag under their bed, ready to fly anytime). You won’t see this culture in Karachi or anywhere in Pakistan (or anywhere else in the world outside ME – even if you are living as an expat). You know you have some rights, justice, system, procedures. Forget the hope of living in ME by getting a local status, we cannot even expect justice or equal ‘hearing’. If one have an accident (I hope not) and the other party (in case a local) either runs away or gets the advantage. If your residency has expired due to your “Kafeel’s” (Sponsor’s) problems/issues with you, you are the one likely to be apprehended. I doubt there is anyone who did not hear stories of expats being treated unfairly but I will be surprised if one can share a story where a Kafeel (Sponsor) was castigated for the opposite reasons? I can continue to write but taking care of reader’s time, like to stop and continue to live here with the hope, we won’t face such a situation and ‘live happily ever AFTER WE GO BACK to our home’. All the best and peaceful living in ME.Recommend

  • Dr Mohammad Jamil Hashmi
    Apr 29, 2010 - 3:57AM

    Hi George,
    Very Well written.
    The”truth” always speaks itself. You have commented on” the real wealth” of Pakistan.
    I think this should be an eye opener article for not only those “Pakistanis” but also for “others” to feel, smell & try “The reality of Pakistan” who have only decided to not let any moment wasted to speak, write against Pakistan & Pakistanis. My beloved country/nation.
    Long live Pakistan. Ameen.Recommend

  • Ali
    Apr 29, 2010 - 8:33AM

    Its funny to read some comments in defense of Dubai from Pakistanis who are living there JUST to make some money. Some of them are ignorant enough to call it there own!

    I enjoy seeing their faces when they visit Pakistan. Even the aliens in the movies don;t have such expressions when visit earth.

    I think they have lost their souls as well.Recommend

  • Saaim Khan
    Apr 29, 2010 - 9:20AM

    Loved the article, Mr. Fulton! Living in Dubai during the 90s, and in Karachi during the 00s, I’m quite happy I made the move when I did. Dubai’s rapidly dying soul has a bleak chance at survival.

    Currently studying in Sydney, and in some aspects, I can’t wait to get back home!Recommend

  • Jawad Khan
    Apr 29, 2010 - 10:49AM

    Dear All

    i just read the article and happy to see some realities about Dubai … i just want to say that everyone has his own point of view but my point of view is this that Dubai is the city where you can live independently and to follow the ISLAM and western style,,, its entirely up the the person who is living in the Dubai … second thing there is no comparison between Pakistan and Dubai … as we are Pakistani and we love Pakistan but Dubai is the place where you can live you life better than Pakistan and one thing is firmly required that if you are living in Dubai your entire family be with you so thats the place for living and if you are single then you will have different directions.

    I hope someone will second me in this view. Recommend

  • Meher
    Apr 29, 2010 - 1:59PM

    Well done Mr.Fulton! Pakistan may have alot of issues but we have culture and art that many people appreciate. Everyone in Pakistan is so negative that they won’t ever appreciate anything they have. They live in a box and don’t do anything to fix the situation but cuss at it all the time. Its not like I’m doing anything but atleast I appreciate what we have and what could be done with it. The rest will take time.Recommend

  • kamran khan
    Apr 29, 2010 - 2:51PM

    you are making a bias opinion.Recommend

  • Awais Irfan
    Apr 29, 2010 - 2:52PM


    Thats an excellent sketch of Dubai and nobody could ve put it better than you did. Two thumbs up Sir!

    Some people here got pretty harsh perhaps because they unfortunate enough to get a whooping from pakistan police. Perhaps they should realize countless single men are held at customs for hours just on suspicion that they maybe carrying banned substances. Oh and just so u know, they were not carrying anything like that with them.

    Apart from that, U.A.E doesnt have food to offer like Saudi arabia and much more. Probably the worst ever country to exist in this region.

    Soulless…..couldnt ve said it better. Its plastic, nothing more.Recommend

  • Shah
    Apr 29, 2010 - 3:13PM

    My question to all the readers is that: would you leave you mother for money or if she was sick/unwell? If your answer is no, then why leave your motherland?Recommend

  • Mir
    Apr 29, 2010 - 6:20PM

    Because the days of considering a country as your mother are gone, soon faith will disappear and then peoples own mothers wont mean a thing.. At last we get back to our animal roots.. Everyone for himself.Recommend

  • Tahir Usman
    Apr 29, 2010 - 7:45PM

    Dont like living on someone elses real estate.So for all the drawbacks that living in Pakistan got still prefer to live here.Dubai is ok but it aint ours,we need to improve our lot.If pakistan had not been plundered by our so called goddam leaders there would have been no comparison.After all Pakistan is a large country and Dubai is well just a small city….Recommend

  • To Shah
    Apr 29, 2010 - 11:48PM

    “My question to all the readers is that: would you leave you mother for money or if she was sick/unwell? If your answer is no, then why leave your motherland?”

    Shah, thanks you for posting the above comments. All those Pakistanis here complaining about the challenges Pakistan faces today & has been facing since 1947 & making it a reason of their migration to other countries…… I tend to call them ‘traitors’ of Pakistan. Or those who would leave their mother to die / suffer if she was sick or faced by problems or threats from her enemy. I am disgusted to call them even Pakistanis. And whoever above said no matter how much ‘rich’ they have become for living as 3rd or lower class status in other countries after abondoning their motherland, Pakistan does not need them back. We are better off without these traiotrs.

    Their complaints would have some weight only if they had helped Pakistan eradicate those internal & external problems & threats but they opted to leave the mother land & their fellow Pakistanis behind to die & suffer only to enjoy the soul-less environment & materialism of UAE.Recommend

  • Azam Sultan Ahmed
    Apr 30, 2010 - 12:42AM

    283 comments on one single article, it speaks volumes on the interest and varied opinion of the readers. But it seems more a comparison of India and Pakistan then Pakistan and Dubai.Recommend

  • Ramzi A
    Apr 30, 2010 - 7:43AM

    Perhaps Dubai is fake, but come on! Blessed Pakistan.
    How deceptive people can be! read yourself. Recommend

  • Ghazanfar Khan
    Apr 30, 2010 - 8:20AM

    Good Dubai bashing but Pakistan has “democracy” ? Did I miss something?Recommend

  • Tayyaba Jafri
    Apr 30, 2010 - 12:29PM

    Love your article George Excellent job.Recommend

  • Ali
    Apr 30, 2010 - 6:31PM

    I think Dubai is a nice picnic point, that’s it,

    It’s amazingly fake and you get the feel that you are in a temporarily built place…

    Pakistan, despite all it’s problems is probably the BEST place to live in the world.Recommend

  • WaheedUd Deen
    Apr 30, 2010 - 6:50PM

    I 100% agree to what Zeeshan Irshad has written in reply to George.
    Pakistan love it or leave it.
    Dubai love it or leave it.
    Waheed Ud DeenRecommend

  • Apr 30, 2010 - 7:57PM

    Some of the comments here are good, many are bad.Recommend

  • talha ali
    May 1, 2010 - 1:15AM

    atleast we have you george.Recommend

  • Uzair.Javaid
    May 1, 2010 - 4:27AM

    A delightful effort of reminding Pakistanis how blessed we actually are cursing at the state for not giving us anything. I hate when many “Richie Richs” say What has Pakistan done for us anyway!. That is when the soul of Pakistan must cry that it gives us all the pleasures of life, a peaceful sleep, a luring dinner, incomparable fruits. We have this Country as a BOUNTY of Allah. Still if we show our feeling of being pity to the world that WE are Pakistanis, than shame on all those who hold a Green Passport.

    I salute You George for showing what many of us cant feel and see. Recommend

  • Hina
    May 1, 2010 - 7:25AM

    George: I am utterly disappointed with your analysis. Take a step back and re-read what you have written! Stop comparing apples with Oranges! Dubai is plastic and fake…i.e. no soul or lack of character that you want to refer to….what about Karachi??? or as a matter of fact Lahore…where ppl like to show off whatever they can or possibly can afford to! To get your facts right, a big % of ppl who are living in Dubai is an expat community…who have all flocked to Dubai because of financial opportunities that it provided / or continues to promise! Its the ppl who make the society and give character. A big %age of South Asians or Arabs that you see flashing gold or Louis Vitton is all one type of ppl..doesnt matter where they come from! Be it India, Pakistan or a local arab or an imported Arab (Lebenese or Kuwaiti). Wherever these ppl will go…they will flash off whatever they can possibly lay their hands to! You can see that in Khi…have you ever been to Sindh club or wherever the so-called socialite of Pakistan meet….its the same for Dubai! Dubai is glossier since it could afford it so it gets a bigger canvas! Soul behind that is the same…doesnt matter where the yatch lands to….be it in Khi or waters of Gulf! ppl are comparing security issues in Pakistan over a flashy lifestyle in Dubai! If you are told that you are safe in Arctic ocean and thats the only place that you can go…you will go there! Karachi has its goods and bads….its the ppl that make it good or bad…not cities! Character of a city is made by its ppl…And when it comes to financial instability…which part of the world is more stable than the rest???Its all debatable…after all this shock..who knows who would emerge as hub and regional centres… I am a Khite…lived all my life here…have been to dubai a couple of times and now in London…does it make me less Pakistani and more angraiz….ppl are comparing dubai’s glitz and glamour with Pakistani art…what about dubai’s poverty and Pakistan’s poverty…issues in dubai with issues in Khi…material minded ppl who are branded from head to toe in khi (whatever they can manage and afford) with the same set of ppl who can afford! There is nothing wrong in wearing a good quality branded stuff as far as your values are intact! As far as there is equality in society…as far as the class differences are reduced (applicable for PaKistan as well as Dubai). How about comparing the rich in Pakistan who can switch on their UPS or generators when electricity goes off whereas others are protesting because of one extra holiday because they were already barely making both ends meet! Its the cluster of ppl that make the culture…that make good or bad! Society has all sorts of ppl…good, bad, evil, simple, material minded and ones who believe in charity (distribution of wealth)…they are all around us! Be it in Khi or be it in Dubai or be it in London or in US! Instead of empty palaces, art and culture; focus on ppl! When things have gone to a basic level…food, clothing and shelter…a normal human mind will work differently and once these needs are satisfied, the priorities change! Please re-write and make the right comparisons not materialism with art and culture! Not all that wear Prada are dumb and get books only to show off! Some of them spend their hard earned money and who are you to say whether its their first pair of Prade glasses or 12th? Why does it matter?? You can still wear Prada and donate a big portion to charity…allah nay diya hay tu why not??? Dont make a generalization please……..Dont confuse an already confused society!Recommend

  • Kamran Asaf
    May 1, 2010 - 4:10PM

    Thank You!!!Recommend

  • Miss Akhwand
    May 1, 2010 - 10:13PM

    I was born in Dubai and have since been living here..All I can say is that Dubai is not what you think it is-you’ve just been to the wrong places. Mall of The Emirates is a place where tourists come. About 95% of the people you see are tourists..the common man is so busy earning money to make both ends meet that the most he can do is visit the mall once and if he has time, stand and look at the skieing area wishing he had enough money to go inside..For a real insight into Dubai try avoiding tourist destinations and you’ll find that it’s almost a cleaner and safer Pakistan..Recommend

  • Sarah
    May 2, 2010 - 4:11AM

    Thanks for an interesting article. I have to say I’m not happy with the situation in Pakistan, there are lots of things that could be improved upon but indeed, I never quite understood the attraction to Dubai. Apart from the points you raised above, also remember that around the corner somewhere in Dubai there are containers of Pakistani and Indian immigrant workers who haven’t been paid in months, who literally live on top of one another in unimaginable conditions. The worst thing is that they can do absolutely nothing about it. They live in as bad conditions as the poor in Pakistan. Yes, Dubai is ‘morally bankrupt’ and some of us may not care about that but at least its intolerable behaviour towards our fellow countrymen should make us stop and think for a moment. So next time one wishes to travel to Dubai to escape Pakistan, every rupee you are spending in that state is only hurting your own people. Recommend

  • aisha
    May 2, 2010 - 5:14PM

    great job !!!!!!Recommend

  • Princess
    May 2, 2010 - 8:12PM

    Thanks George for summing Dubai in a few words for us..I never really realized how sad the people are there, until now. It’ good to know that you look at Pakistan positively and are less of a pessimist. Good going on your part.
    I think the people of that city really need to mend their ways and stop bowing down to status, money and brands. I mean it looks good and all but think about the time you wasting and amount your paying for a Louis Vuitton hand bag or Prada shoes and why not spend all that money on someone who needs it desperately..They could put that amount to good use instead of spending so much on branded wear.I mean they put brands before religion- Now that’s something to think about and feel sorry for.Recommend

  • Sumbal Gilani
    May 3, 2010 - 5:46AM

    Blah people …still arguing about George’s opinion. Well all of you prove at least one generalization about Paksitanis, “Pakistanis are extremely emotional”.:D. For God’s sake it was an opinion based article but even if it was fact based reality wudnt have had been any different. You all need to see” Dubai:A miracle or Mirage” to clarify your own opinions. Viola Tout.Recommend

  • Sumbal Gilani
    May 3, 2010 - 5:50AM

    Oh gross before all you superhypercritical(yes I used super superlative degree) people start picking out my mistakes, i will fix the most obvious one, you can do the rest.:D…The name of the doc is “Dubai:A miracle or Mirage”.Recommend

  • Khurram Ally
    May 3, 2010 - 3:29PM

    Yes you are very right George Dubai is a soulless sin city which is facing a severe financial crisis these days. It is a matter of time before those who have hidden their heads in the sands of Dubai will have to face the horrible REALITY. Karachi by the grace of lord is a blessing.Recommend

  • May 3, 2010 - 3:52PM

    Well said George.

    I have lived in the UAE for 25 years, and now I am in Karachi working for a private TV Channel for last 10 years.
    I left UAE when the boom had started, but have visited a couple of time to see the changing faces of Dubai.

    My Observation: Its all fake and temporary…

    At the same time, Abu Dhabi, the capital of UAE with rich source of Oil and enough that its feeding all the other 6 emirates along with itself is a better example of growth of an oil rich state.
    What I have seen is that Abu Dhabi and its people still have some sort of humanity, thanks to Late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
    Further, Abu dhabi has believed in growth but on a pace that is safe.
    It was Abu Dhabi that accommodated a percentage of people who lost their jobs from Dubai. A lot of people still live in Abu Dhabi and commute to Dubai as its cheaper and faster.
    Abu Dhabi has picked up its pace of growth, last year they held the F1 race and for that the infrastructure of built with keen focus on travel and tourism and specially traffic ease.
    twofour54, another step forward for Abu Dhabi when it comes to developing a media city, where the focus is in long term planning, unlike any major commercially viable development by Dubai.

    No this comment is not about how good Abu Dhabi is VS Dubai, but its about highlighting that if Dubai had taken steps that were slow and steady they would have never been in this economical, commercial and social SHOCK.Recommend

  • Ujala Ali Khan
    May 3, 2010 - 6:02PM

    Articles like these lead to a reader losing all respect for the writer. Job well done, George! Recommend

  • Ahmed
    May 4, 2010 - 1:08PM

    As far as I know, Fulton takes holidays in Dubai regularly. Why is it then that this time his trip turned sour? Wasn’t Fulton also looking for a job here? I wonder how that went.

    The fact is that Dubai is home to about a million Pakistanis who have chosen to live here, from the Maserati driving kind to the labourers. Perhaps Fulton could have been one of them.Recommend

  • Faiz Siddiqui
    May 4, 2010 - 3:01PM

    Thats why we say that Karachi is the Heart of PakistanRecommend

  • Usman Eshai
    May 4, 2010 - 4:52PM

    George your analysis are no doubt based on facts, like Dubai is lacking in moral values and social norms and all that. But here you have to think that what is the position of Dubai in the world. A totally multicultural place, where people of all sort (esp. the rich one) go to have fun and to spend vacations. A place where people from all around the globe come just to relax, or to do shopping and to enjoy their life.

    So why do you criticize a person wearing A shirt with a large polo emblem, and a lady with a big size shades and bag?? Of course if you are out for shopping and to spend you vacations, definitely you will adopt the same behavior.

    Won’t you??Recommend

  • Tippu Hassan
    May 5, 2010 - 12:16PM

    Bravo George!!!!

    Well said. The impression i have of Dubai from all the articles i have read about the place do valide your observations.

    It appears to be an artificial plastic city tailor made for the “dubai challo” crowd from pakistan who are not able to travel elsewhere and are attracted by the meterialism of the place. This naturally means that the type of crowd Dubai attractes has no capacity to impart any soul to the city whatsoever and should best be avoided.

    I visit pakistan nearly every year and love it. I have passed through Dubai a few time but have never stopped over. Nor shall I. No point wasting time in a soul less city full of empty headed desis.

    And thanks once again for validating my impressions of the city!Recommend

  • May 5, 2010 - 1:51PM

    Its a good piece of writing. And the fact is that every person as the right to have their own opinion based on their experience. However, I believe that its just not right to present a totally positive or totally negative picture of anything. Its best to express both pros and cons and then to leave it to people to decide what’s best for them.

    So although I agree with George on some points, I also disagree with him on others.

  • Kamran
    May 6, 2010 - 1:07AM

    Hi George

    This is not fair as you were unable to raise real issues,if any. I was glad that my fellow Pakistanis comments are more thoughtful and mature as compare to the article itself, either they live in UAE or in Pakistan. Can you please explain what was the motive behind comparing Pakistan and Dubai.Recommend

  • Amir
    May 6, 2010 - 10:03AM

    Very well written, we don’t appreciate what we have got. The urdu saying “ghar ki murgh daal barabar” is spot on in this case.Recommend

    May 6, 2010 - 12:58PM

    Well Done george

    Nice i went dubai last year its city of malls you cant live in freash air bcoz without AC its too hot Dubai Lost cultural values and pakistani also wants to follow same
    When we lost our culture we lost our identityRecommend

  • faisal feroz
    May 6, 2010 - 3:42PM

    two thumbs up!!Recommend

  • Tanzi Princess
    May 6, 2010 - 4:57PM

    Hi George aka Patriotic White Pakistani,

    With all due respect to your proffession and ‘soul-less’ experience in UAE, I must add that your article only made me love Dubai even more!

    Yeah so fine the bubble bursted, people lost their jobs, others are struggling, and many are excessively enjoying!

    How can you in anyway make judgements on city that managed to bring the best DIVERSITY in its city, and not to mention a good diversity balance in 100s of Multinational companies. Do you realise the only reason you are getting all these responses is because you are with the Pakistanis! Try saying a thing or two bad….and see how much SOUL if left inside of you to spend a day there!!!!!!!!!!!!and this is true to any place!

    I was recently in Pakistan, yes I had the most amazing time of my life being scared every minute, fine, there is culture there–but that’s only because there is no diversity!!! We have a culture of our own here in dubai which is made up of 50+nationalities and I must add, its got its ups and downs but today, if I have to settle anywhere in the World, I would have no qualms unlike you who just have to visit Dubai and adhered a cultural shock.

    In Dec 09 I went to Pakistan for my best friends wedding, during my 3 day visit- there were two MAJOR bomb blasts within 5-10mins proximity from where I was; at the Parlour with my friend getting her wedding make up done, so one girl gets a text of a bomb blast- announces it..causes barely a min of noise and everyones back to your laughing and dishdashing themsleves with make up!!!!! That 1min chaos was just to make a call to check THEIR own family is well, and so what SOUL are we talk off here? May I know. I being a dubain was disturbed for the rest of my time there, so was my friend and her sister (x-dubaians) soo I am not accusing Pakistan for being soul-less, but where’s the soul in the above situation? I am being judgemental here only because you judged harsly.

    How can u judge or rather expect 10,000 people in a Mall to be doing the same thing, that is praying?…have you heard of women who are PMSing, or heard of people who need a wash before praying? Or heard of NON-muslims, or people who don’t pray at all, or atheists?
    Rather have you heard of another 20+malls in Dubai???????

    Mall of Emirates let me add, is an attraction to tourist like you WHO have no clue what they are upto! So how did u judge they were all locals?

    Your judgements are truly scary. You have judged dubai as a whole and bunched in up in one article!!!!! How is that fair in any way.

    Oh and don’t even start with our Police! They are the best in the world, and the best can even be the worse. If you are in the right side of law! They will fight for you. I can count on them 24/7, and even if this is the only reason I would stay in Dubai. So be it! I am secured.

    Yes with financials going down, crime does start but even within crime, we are proudly 70% safe!

    So the real estate bubble bursted! So what? America as a city Bursted-why not talk about it?
    Did you think of the gains of this burst for people like us here? Rentals have become affordable for one. All these outsiders foreign people kept blowing in the bubble, not many of us local people.

    I have been here for 24 years, there’s a beautiful soul in this city and that is off a blend of different souls….

    After a long tiring day or awaited weekend, its sad to go to Mall of the Emirates and watch people like you ‘Staring’ at our Pradas or Louis Vuittons!

    So we are people of class, we have our own class, its our own money, you don’t bring it to our plate…you have no right to judge how much people consume….

    You would be saddened to know that when Pakistanis come here litrelly flock in to shop all over Dubai.

    I am sorry your article FAILED my eyes. Not because I love Dubai, which I don’t 100%, but your Hate for it made me realise how unbaised I must have been the past.

    Your arguments were totally unreasonable. As much as feel bad for people in Pakistan for going thru all that they do in regards to security, how can you compare it to the glamour of Dubai?

    How can you compare loss of a 100 lives to prada or materialism?

    People in pakistan are living and experiencing the pain of death every moment of their life…even the most happy, safe, and sophisticated families are living the pain of the country. How can you write such an article and let the politicians or terrorist discuss and laugh about it?

    Something needs to be done to stop all this. And the first step is unity…

    We dubaians, or some of us; including me love Pakistan for its culture, food etc but I would not voluntary move there at the cost of pain and bloodshed.

    Instead of hating Dubai, I think its important too do some work within Pakistan to somehow help the country come back to its true spirit. George if this one article can get you 100s of comment, just imagine what an article to stop all the bloodshed would do. Are you also scared of losing your life?


  • Musarrat Shamshir
    May 6, 2010 - 8:33PM

    The author has given only one side of the picture and even with the biased approach. Although everything that has been said may be true, but. This is not, the only side of the whole picture. Look at the positive side that being the police state they are providing the safety and security to human beings, they are providing whatever “they” want, nobody is forcing you to go to pubs run for woman, families are living there earning out of their efforts and capability. Now comparing Pakistan; no doubt that moral values still prevails there because Pakistan is a Nation, Dubai is not!! Dubai is artificially created world where you will find very few trades of life not all, and there is no interconnection between those as well, every one is living their life with making no interference in each others life, and making no linkages with each other therefore society is not integrated the way a nation could be. Anyways this the most of people want so they have created their own heaven on earth!!!!!Recommend

  • Amin
    May 7, 2010 - 7:13AM

    People make the place. George, if you had a few of your best friends in Dubai, you may have enjoyed your stay there. Having said that, it goes without saying that Pakistan has more to offer – good and bad. Your article was well written and it was a pleasure reading the tsunami of beautifully worded reactions in its wake.Recommend

  • Ahmad Quraishi
    May 7, 2010 - 1:47PM

    Nice one George!
    Have to appreciate what we have got in PakistanRecommend

  • Sajjad Arif
    May 7, 2010 - 7:00PM

    Thumbs up! for George.

    Thankyou for this eye opening essay. We Pakistani’s who born here in Pakistan, always crtique its problems, load shedding, curruption, and loads of other problems.

    But you being a converted Pakistani feel more proud of being a Pakistani. Love you for that. We should also see things positively instead seeing only the negatives.Recommend

  • fahad
    May 7, 2010 - 7:59PM

    Very True.

    Good Job. Thumbs Up..Recommend

  • Jock
    May 8, 2010 - 6:03PM

    Have had the unfortunate experience of visiting Dubai a few times (but not out of choice). I could not agree more with the views expressed by George Fulton. Dubai is a cultural wasteland dedicated to flashy consumerism. However, for those who have never read a book in their lives and are obsessed with shopping until they drop, it is a perfect place.

    I have worked and lived in Europe as well as the East. Even in the notorious city of Bangkok prostitutes are largely confined to certain areas of the city and no one would dare take them to any top quality hotel. Not so in Dubai where to my surprise these ‘ladies’ were visible even in the 6 star hotels. The cultural crudity of the city is quite extraordinary.Recommend

  • Ahmed Fard
    May 8, 2010 - 8:19PM

    Dubai is a city which has developed in such a way that it a model city for any other city in the region. Regional Governments look upto Dubai shyly and with envy to match infrastructure and implement policy changes. Its a city where almost 160 nationalities including citizens of INdia and Pakistan who work harmonously in tandem at all times. Unlike in Pakistan in Dubai it does not matter if you are a Choudhry, Malik, Khan, Maqsi, Soomro, Smith, Mai, Radhkov etc

    Dubai has no problems for instance with Electricity, Security, Peace, Religion, Dining, Sport, Fast Cars, Travel Connections, Shopping, Taxes, Cleanliness, Healtcare, Education, Quality of Life, Technology, Innovation, Leadership, Commerce.

    For any city in Pakistan to even think of matching Dubai’s vibrancy it will take many years. Dubai has its own unique culture and no other city in world offers this and this is not any individual comment rather its a fact. Dream on. Recommend

  • Ateeq Akhtar
    May 9, 2010 - 12:08AM

    ***Outclass comments by Umer Zubair Awan.***

    Aditionally I would take the liberty to say few more words here.

    Being a Pakistani and living in Dubai, I would call this column a total howler (sorry for being blunt here), especially when you compared it with Karachi. On the other hand I would call it a British conspiracy against Dubai. **“George ka Pakistan”** and **“ Kiran aur George”** does not justify your journalism knack.

    Dubai is one of the fast paced cities in the world, along with Karachi, Mumbai, New York, Tokyo, London and few others. Now when you talk about economical calamity, then the verity is that it was fingered by Abu Dhabi, Bahrain & Qatar precisely. Anyways, this would not last long.

    The only annoyance you spoke of is about Islam & Muslims. Yes, they have enough money, that’s why mosques are quite fancy, but ultimately they are predestined for worship only. Please do visit Dubai again with fresh brain. If you didn’t get a job here, doesn’t mean that Dubai is a failed state.

    Please try to respect at least fair journalism, if not religion & cultures.Recommend

  • Najma Naizi
    May 9, 2010 - 12:15AM

    Dubai a copy of sin city was built on the backs of poor hourly laborers from India* Pakistan*Bangladesh. The rich Arabs tend to help their Muslim brothers by using their hard labor and paying them with wages which would be considered slave pay.
    But yet there is little or no outrage to the corrupt Arabs that have built a playground for the rich.
    ALL PEOPLE should boycott this “garden of evil” since it only benefits the rich corrupt Arabs and destroys the poor who built it.
    All Pakistanis that live in Dubai are cowards, that instead of helping their own country have fled.
    I know there is no comparison for all the fear and safety issues, who are to blame for all of you living in Dubai and not having the moral spirit to fight the crazies who are killing us?Recommend

  • Syed Ahmed
    May 9, 2010 - 9:20AM

    Good One!

    Mr. Fulton hasn’t lost any of his loved one or a whole of his family in a bomb blast, lives in a nice house, with a good job, is able to buy meat even if it Rs.1000/KG, doesn’t have to tell his hungry children that no food today because we cannot afford it. Commenting from air-conditioned room, on a nice comfortable computer chair with kick ass DSL connection is easy.

    This article is not only away from reality, but also reflects weak perception of the author….

    He has raised some serious issues related to religion…..My question is, being in media, doesn’t he sees what’s going on in Pakistani fashion industry??? I have seen Pakistani women wearing minis in front of millions of Na Mehram men without feeling bad about it…….
    He is talking about people not paying attention to Namaz, but at least you get to here azan in a malls here. I don’t remember loud azan in Park Tower or Forum. What people do after listening to azan is non of your business George!….Let Allah (swt) deal with that…Why don’t you become a good muslim first before pointing fingers at anyone else..for all you know that these people who you are referring to in the mall went home and prayed…..

    I know Dubai has issues, but so does rest of the world. If Dubai is crossing the limits of Besharmi, so is Pakistani women. Talking about champagne, you should travel Emirates Dubai -Khi which is less than 2 hours flight and see our Islamic fellow citizens in action who are consuming alcohol like its now or never….

    Enjoyed reading the article…..fascinated by his patriotism being a Britisher….Weldon! George…..

    Pakistan Zindabad!

    Pakistan does have soul, Pakistan is the best and will remain the best…. but the article was a sheer non sense and a pointing finger spree…..


  • ksbabar
    May 9, 2010 - 3:01PM

    Lets not waist time by indulging in others domain .We will be much better,if we progress,be moderate and make pakistan ,a place to live happily .The solution is simple—–end corruption ,accountability of all-,selection and work on pure merit- ,and most important ,education for all .Unless we are educated ,we will remain and go down further .Lets become a NATION rather than being a POPULATIONRecommend

  • Fawad Rizvi
    May 9, 2010 - 11:25PM

    Great job George. You have revived my national spirit. Just when I thought I was lost in a pool of negativity, negativity which was coming from all directions, your article was like a cool breeze in a hot humid weather.

    God bless you, God bless Pakistan!Recommend

  • Jahanzeb Syed
    May 10, 2010 - 11:42PM

    Well written but to be honest very biased. I am originally from Karachi and would disagree with George on a few issues.

    a) Dubai may not have a soul but at least it is one of the safest cities in the world. You can go to mosques without the fair of being bombed or choose to become a mall rat and yet feel safe. In Pakistan, unfortunately mosques and shopping malls are unsafe.

    b) women are far safer in this part of the world as opposed to Pakistan.

    c) Media might not be as robust as Pakistan but at least is not as vile as Pakistan’s. Case in point, channels such as Geo Tv. the only notable exception is Dawn News.

    d) The police in Pakistan are to be feared off. There are no two ways about it.

    e) hookers and alcohol thrive in dubai, whereas in Pakistan it happens behind the scenes.

    However, in Pakistan there are a few things which Dubai or infact the UAE do not and probably cannot offer.

    a)one does feel Ramadan in its true essence. Eid and other religious festivities are celebrated in high spirits.

    b) There are multiple avenues of entertainment besides shopping malls. You have the desert, the mountains, the sea, and three vibrant cities with a rich history.
    c) One of the best financial systems in Asia. Well structured and strong enough to withstand exogenous and endogenous shocks. Dubai is vanilla compared Karachi in this regard.

    I personally believe its a matter of personal choice. Dubai can be sickening yet have an element of vibrancy and excitement. Karachi may have a soul and an element of organic life (compared to dubai’s plastic) but yet keep you wondering where its going to hit you next with its ills on an individual or collective level.

    Its relative at the end of the day. Recommend

  • Ubed Khan
    May 11, 2010 - 9:30AM

    Georgie == 1
    People dissing Georgie == 0

    I have lived all my life in dubai and sadly still am.Recommend

  • Arshad Siddiqui
    May 12, 2010 - 4:18PM


  • Nadia J
    May 13, 2010 - 2:52AM

    Thought i admire your creative writing and as someone has mentioned, you have only shed light on the bad characteristics. I’ve been living in Dxb for the past couple of years, and I know a huge number of people who are not soulless!
    Prostitution! give me a break, as if Pakistan is lacking in red light areas!
    Police state… So what atleast theres a sence of security and safety.. I dont have to be scared everytime i take out an expensive cell phone in public..or be scared of bomb blasts at any crowded place.. and not report a crime thinking losing somehting is better then getting harrased by the police, even if one is a victim.
    If there are the indulgent people who drink the 3000 dirham champagne, theres also a huge population which stays happy with a can of soda..
    And tell me whats the diffence between hanging out at the Gucci store, or Rabi center at Tari road.. i rarely see people praying.. Shopping is shopping.. living abroad just gives us an oppertunity to be able to purchase better things.
    Im a Pakistani and i love Pakistan.. Next time you go enjoy Dubai from an average persons point of view..Ive visited many middle eastern countries… UAE is by far the best!Recommend

  • Khuram
    May 13, 2010 - 10:12AM

    Since I was born & raised most of my life here except for 10 years while I was in America I cant agree with who ever the writer is. I love Dubai I left America to be here. We have every thing here & thats what makes all other’s jelous. In Pak you have no Roads, no power, no water, no gas, no partol, & no Security. Moms are worried about the Kids that went to school if they will return or some bomb or some robber will kill them. No wonder in pak we are killing each other’s while the whole World watches & is happy. Just go the the Airport & you will see most of the people heading to Dubai are Pakis. If you like Pak so much then why u came to dubai. There are ppl in Pak who havent been out of their city & they love that fact. Before writing about the workers conditions you should realize that its not the Govt that is doing this its the companies & mostly owned by Pakis, Goras & some others. Govt can only do so much but its the ppl that pay well over 100K to come to Dubai just to work as a Construction worker. Be reminded most of them know the Plight of ppl in these jobs. In a nut shell. Dubai Govt made everything for the ppl. e.g Great Infstructure of roads Housing & many other amenities. There are malls & Mosques its the ppl that decide where they want to go. Most of the ppl here are outsiders. e.g 1.2 Mln Indians, 800K Pakis, 200K Goras. Ne way look at ones own contry b4 making long stories about other countries. Now let the battle of Comments begin…….Recommend

  • E.F
    May 13, 2010 - 12:01PM


    While very noble of you to provide this uplifting message to Pakistan, you seem to fall short on a number of levels.

    Pakistan is still a failing state, with a history of supporting terrorism, and a human rights record to shame any civilized state.

    While Dubai has its share of vices, it at least provides its citizens with a decent level of security, stability and living standard. Dubai is only 40 years old, and like all cities, needs time to develop a “soul.” It’s a premature and highly biased and unfair judgement you make.

    While not particularly “moral,” no state can possibly be evaluated ENTIRELY by its morality, in which case even Saudi Arabia would fall short given its very embarrassing human rights record. Dubai offers many expatriates who have no opportunities in their home countries a chance at a decent job, education and living standard.

    Even Pakistan, however “soulful” and awesome, yet fails to do even that much for its own.Recommend

  • Uzma Umair
    May 13, 2010 - 1:31PM

    I really appreciate your obsession and perception George!Recommend

  • May 13, 2010 - 3:11PM

    Interesting analysis. I enjoyed reading it~!Recommend

  • Ali Ahmed
    May 13, 2010 - 4:13PM

    Nice work George, But remember we shall adore Islam and Islamic Customs, not democracy. As this is not Islam’s way anyway.Recommend

  • Hina
    May 14, 2010 - 2:55PM

    To All the Readers in Favor of This Article,
    It was quite pleasing to see that there is a large number of people who encourged the writer on this story yet still apply to jobs in Dubai or one day look forward to living in Dubai. Well, this is to all those hypocrites…if you have such strong opinions then please do not try so hard to relocate from Pakistan to Dubai. Atleast then, the market of Dubai wouldn’t be SO saturated with all of you and eventually the economy will go back to its GLORY.
    Thank you all in advance for abiding with these polite directions.Recommend

  • Ali
    May 14, 2010 - 3:01PM

    This shows that people in Pakistan aren’t good at anything except making bombs and terrorism!! So please leave the handling of media to other coutries.Recommend

  • Naila
    May 16, 2010 - 9:37PM

    I loved ur article…to an extent very true indeed…I miss my country for whatever reason it is it is MY PAKISTAN,I can proudly call it my own… those ppl vouching for Dubai, I dare u to make one mistake n ull be kicked to where u belong n that is PAKISTAN or whichever countries citizenship u paid 4 I wud put it that way.
    Our Desis r bigger than anyone here lol..I mean i ve been here since yrs, but how can they become a bigger gora than the goras?
    Ohhh Pakistan this ohh Pakistan that…emirates hills, foreign passport,kitty parties, this get together that party…Goodness sake I ve heard alot of it, been there n done that! most of their designer bags n shoes r from meena bazar’s 1st hand copy immitations of designers lol… I ve been there too…but never had the gutts too buy something n lie that its real n not fake…
    I know ppl from every part of this world but howcome they seem to be soo normal than ppl living here? yes We do have a better lifestyle n yes in terms of food water and all…but how cud u vouch for a country which is not even yours? v r what we r n we r Pakistanis..staying anywhere in the world for even 50 yrs u will always have the TAG.
    Just appreciate where ur living n on the same side LEARN to appreciate little things about ur own country rather than degrading it in a forum where u know that 100ppl will put u down…
    in the end whatever it is I am a Pakistani n I am proud of being one n yes..I am not one of those who feel embarrassed by revealing my identity n prefer ppl think Im some crude rude proud arab or whatever!Recommend

  • hanny
    May 17, 2010 - 4:10PM

    this is exactly what i felt when i visited Dubai. Thank God i live in Pakistan n i love it no matter what.Recommend

  • May 18, 2010 - 6:31AM

    Thank you for this George!!!

    I wrote my own analysis of what’s wrong with Dubai in an article: What Befell Dubai at

    What i am amazed at is how people still defend Dubai’s shameless hedonism and apathy! Its obviously the quintessential example of unsustainable greed.

    thanks again!

    Afia Mansoor Recommend

  • May 18, 2010 - 7:14PM

    Great site been reading and will add your site to mine.Recommend

  • May 19, 2010 - 11:33PM

    Lovely. It took a Briton to stand up for Pakistan!Recommend

  • faris
    May 20, 2010 - 11:12AM

    hey george I still have your DVD! sorry I didnt give it to you before I left…FOR DUBAI!! :)Recommend

  • ASIF
    May 20, 2010 - 2:42PM


  • Stephan
    May 21, 2010 - 10:27PM

    Well it seems George didnt get enough attention in Pakistan, considering how cultural he’s tried to be living in Pakistan so he decides to be a true patriot (to Pakistan). You live in Pakistan and sure u like it here, so do i but democratic we are not, votes are always rigged.. The government is a setup, seems like you’ve told us something about yourself instead. You dont really know Pakistan as well as the Pakistanis do and as for the UAE (Dubai) there are more foreign tourists like you who visit there as compared to the Pakistanis or the Indians for that matter. You hardly know Pakistan and 10 days in Dubai makes you an expert! Cheers TRIBUNE for letting a novice “Broadcast and print journalist” enlighten us with such insight! Recommend

  • Shahzeb Mistry
    May 29, 2010 - 8:45AM

    Angoor khatay hainRecommend

    May 29, 2010 - 12:29PM

    CHACHA ,Angoor khatay Nahi,booooooooth katay hai , if blowing up our muslim bro in the mosque is our pakistan , than i am very
    happy in this plactic world called dubai . my prays and best of wishes to all how live in Pakistan ,be well and prosper .aamin .Recommend

  • Amna
    Jun 9, 2010 - 5:46PM

    Excellent. With all the glorification of Dubai around in general, its nice to know that there are people that feel the lack of soul and life there. Yes, it’s capitalism at its worst. Put up tall glass and metal buildings and then burn energy to keep em cool.Recommend

  • Jun 17, 2010 - 12:09AM

    Well, I feel the article is very biased against Dubai. Many of the points are ture but many wrong and exagerated. Perhaps, you have not visited the mosque at mall of the emirates, but it is full at prayer times and several rounds of congregation take place for every prayer, so is the case with other mall.
    I do agree a lot of wrong takes place, but that does not mean we don’t see the good.
    As far as pakistan is concerned, its the pakistanis who say ‘At least we are not pakistan’ as they get there citizenship in the west.Recommend

  • Sara
    Jun 21, 2010 - 1:03PM

    Hi George!
    You have well said about Dubai and we Pakistanis are happy you said our state is better, and better to hear from the people like you to whom our identity infact has totally changed, as a terorist and under privileged society.
    i went dubai once only and the stay was on the Dubai Airport and what i got i think because of being a Pkaitsnai. The way they checked my paper and my stuff was really humiliating, this sort of atitude i never saw in Italian Airports where i often go. though we often say the italians are most racist (which surely is wrong).
    I use to travle by air on Muslim Airlines like Dubai, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia etc because of halal food and many other resons and i always say that atitude of Arabic People is very disgusting towards us. they never bear us so i never want to live in these countries, so for us Dubai is only a place to earn not to like them.
    And if we get same opportunities in Pakistan we will go no where else. (which is ofcourse not posssible because of so much American intervention in our beloved country)
    Thanks for giving a good comparison and Hats off for the way you wrote!Recommend

  • Jun 29, 2010 - 12:40PM

    I did a crazy long reply to your article but my internet crapped out and I lost it all! Oh well, just wanted to tell you that it was a great article! Great job!Recommend

  • Moiz Mansoor
    Jul 9, 2010 - 10:36PM

    LOL. Judgemental much?

    People spend what they can, because Dubai allows you the freedom to do so without fearing being mugged in broad daylight or being afraid to go out simply because some nutjob may decide to blow himself up in the middle of the road.

    And your generalizations are as absurd as they are laughable, especially since they’re based on only 10 days’ experience. Dubai is not relegated to Jumeirah mate; go to the other parts of the city and you’d see a completely different side of the city.Recommend

  • Amit Pamnani
    Jul 10, 2010 - 4:02PM

    Why such an article would not suit a person like me (you’ll find a lot of people who were born in this country):

    -You are comparing a city (with barely over a million people currently) to a country (160 plus million people).

    -You might be right about the current state of emptiness but your generalization about the people and the ruler, or whoever has suggested them to you, are quite extreme. Why do I consider them extreme? Well my answer is based on all types of people I have met, seen and observed in my life while what you have mentioned about people over here is based on a 10-day trip if I’m not mistaken. How can you so openly comment about a society that you have no great idea about? Did you know that Dubai was a more westernized city in some aspects back in the 1960’s than it is now? It cut down on many cultural aspects being present from the 1960’s due to whatever reasons. Now compare 2010, actually 2000 to 1960 and see the difference. And you say that it hasn’t eased off its kingdom mentality which it doesn’t have to anyways. Moreover, you are not the only tourist over here, there are a lot more of them who are following their respective cultures and hence you are taking up the challenge of not only criticizing Dubai’s culture that you barely know of (you do know something) but also many other cultures that you probably don’t know about at all. This country’s culture has been to live your own but respect every religion, society and culture and that is bigger to me than democracy.

    -You mentioned that people over hear wear a lot of the following: bling bling, polo t-shirts, oversized handbags and sunglasses. I didn’t quite understand this statement’s purpose.

    -What’s the point of democracy when the majority of people do not benefit from it? What’s the point of a robust media when almost everything is manipulated or a complete lie? What is the point of a police if nothing can be controlled with it? Why is there a comparison taking place between a country and a city, a country that has actually imported more Western aspects in total than the city and that are not actually applying these imports in the right way.

    -You, like every other person, are criticizing Dubai after it got entangled in the world financial crisis. I’m not denying that there haven’t been many mistakes on the government’s side in the past few years such as too much dependence on tourism for their income and no quota system present for large industries but that doesn’t mean you write them off as such.

    -The spirit of Dubai along with a few corrections from the government will definitely bail out Dubai and propel it forward again with the aim to be Middle East’s cocktail, regional hub where you can decide whether you want to be in a Middle+Eastern or Middle+Western cultural atmosphere. The former one would mean landing at Dubai’s current airport terminal while the latter one would mean landing at Dubai’s new airport coming up in the future.

    Best Regards,
    A.Pamnani (A normally neutral person but one-sided today due to the nature of the article.)Recommend

  • Muhammad Jasim
    Jul 10, 2010 - 5:44PM

    Well written but I gotta disagree with some of your arguments. It seems that you were a little biased while writing the article.
    Firstly, you told us to “Take time to celebrate our cultural, religious, linguistic plurality and richness”. Don’t get me wrong but what kind of cultural or religious diversity are you talking about? Pakistan surely is rich in culture and religion but richness is not the only factor that matters. What matters more is that these diverse cultures and religious belief should co-exist side by side with each other. In Pakistan we have all sorts of cultural and religious clashes between these “diverse cultural and religious” sects. Shia vs Sunni, attacks on other minorities, Sindhi vs Punjabi vs Pukhtun vs Balochi vs Saraiqi vs Muhajir vs What-Not rivalry; is this how cultural richness supposed to exist? Decide yourself.
    Secondly you cherished the point that at least “we have democracy”. I totally agree with you. Pakistan is a democratic country where people have a free choice of selecting their leaders. But these leaders who are supposed to work for their nation who brought them to their prestigious positions, do not do so. Instead they just care about their personal bank balance. So what are we supposed to do with this DEMOCRACY.
    As a Pakistani I would have felt ashamed but since I am stating the truth, I feel no shame in saying that Pakistanis are a complete FAILURE at life. And for the record, I repeat that “Pakistanis (NOT PAKISTAN) are a complete FAILURE at life”. And if you cannot accept this fact, you have no will power to bring about the change that is required. You mean nothing to Pakistan. You might be one of the 17 crore people that we call Pakistani but you surely are not the one that will bring about the change that Pakistan is in need of.
    I am, in no way, supporting Dubai because I don’t even care about it. What I am saying is that we have had enough. Instead of comparing ourselves to others we should take a look at ourselves and see what are we doing that is the reason for the conditions that exist around us. There might be some external forces that are preventing us from developing. But we should be determined that there is no force more powerful than our unity and faith.
    I see a little hope in the form of handful of thinkers and activists that are trying to bring about the change. May Allah help them in their mission and may He give us all the ability to change ourselves and our beloved country. Allah! let the Miracle happen! AMEENRecommend

  • Pakistani-94
    Jul 11, 2010 - 5:40PM

    I beg to differ with George. One doesn’t need to blast another place or its people to realize the beauty of his own country.
    One should read this blog post in response to this:

    “We have a heart? Then how can we forget the 700,000 Pakistanis living in Dubai who were welcomed by its leaders and its people to their land where most of them went for the opportunities it offered and have built fortunes or if not fortunes, improved and bettered their standard of life while supporting their families back home in Pakistan. Our people have and are benefiting from Dubai, then how ignorant can we be to blindly applaud the baseless censuring of it.

    We as people of another nation, and that too a highly flawed and blemished one, have no right or privilege whatsoever, to deride any other nation in order to restore our confidence in our country or be thankful for what we are today.

    We don’t need any reason to love Pakistan but merely the fact that it is our identity, our freedom, our home and our future should push farther in our hearts, the love for this gift of Allah.

    For all that George Fulton has written, I beg to differ , pointing out the flaws in other nations and degrading them will never uplift us but only solidify the degree of over-confidence and stagnant thinking that we possess as a nation but also add up an evident glint of ignorance and arrogance to our mind-sets. It will cement the illusion in us that we are perfect as a nation and nothing needs to be changed. We have defects as a society and as a nation, we acquiesce with the wrong, we refuse to admit our mistakes and such articles make us numb to the prick of our conscience and accepting the reality about us and the need to change. One should first glance at the order of their house first before pointing out at other homes. As Oscar Wilde writes in his only novel, “The Picture of Dorian Gray” :

    “Everyone knows how others should lead their lives but none know how to lead theirs”

    So we, need to focus on ourselves rather than others; we need to wake up to the need for a difference in ourselves which shall light the torch of change that shall illuminate Pakistan rather than focusing on others and acquiring self-contentment by unrightfully finding faults in other nations. “Recommend

  • Amnah BIlgrami
    Jul 18, 2010 - 10:32AM

    Very well articulated. I resided there briefly and did not leave with fond memories, more of those a person treated as a second class citizen would have, which basically is how Pakistanis/labourers are treated.
    could Dubai be the next Atlantis?????.Recommend

  • Najia
    Aug 22, 2010 - 1:09AM

    First of all, it is beautifully written.
    and more then the words, it is a beautiful thought.
    We all need such soul searching!!
    Respect!! Recommend

  • Saud Ahmed
    Sep 17, 2010 - 6:39PM

    Why are people even comparing pakistan with Dubai ………… its safe , it has all the luxuries a common man could ask for , wonderful holiday locations , arguably afforrdable everyday life requirements , and a really friendly public environment . the bad things are however quite expensive broadband internet, really high temperatures and traffic jams. thats about all !Recommend