Captain Stories Project: Ijaz Sheikh

“I used to teach sciences back home in Lahore, and I even ran a private high school for a while before my business partner tried to swindle me out of my share of the profits.

“Life is funny; I used to privately tutor a student who works for me now. His parents used to pay me 2000 Rupees a month. When his parents died and he was left with nothing, I told him to come work for me driving one of my cars in Dubai. He’s been able to do well for himself when he came, and even helped pay for his five sisters’ weddings.

“I’m feeling like I’m getting old pretty quickly. I left Lahore in 2007 with only 500 Dirhams in my pocket, and I didn’t know what I was going to encounter or come up against in Dubai. Migrating at the age of 38 is hard, it wasn’t an easy decision to make, but the circumstances back in Pakistan didn’t make life easy for us. I bought my first car in 2009, and I have an entire fleet now. Ultimately, we are here to make money, but I am also able to provide a great quality of life and comfortable lifestyle for my family. I’m also able to support other family members as they make the move to Dubai. My parents lived the majority of their last years with me here. They didn’t want to be buried here, but they lived well when they came over– and for that I’m grateful.

“Driving a car for hours at a time is hard. I’ve put on weight from driving long hours. I used to play squash regularly in Pakistan, but now I have to oversee the business and all my cars. It’s ok, elhamdulillah. I’ll get back to squash soon enough.

“My ambitions for my children are all centered on education. I want my eldest son to move to Australia for college, and get an Australian passport. You get a lot of opportunities with a foreign passport. I know his mom is nervous about the idea of him being so far away, but I think securing an education for all my children is the most important thing.”

Ijaz Sheikh, 47, Dubai