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Monday, March 4, 2024

“The Moment I Traveled from Dubai to Abu Dhabi Without Needing a Passport: A UAE Experience”

Pakistani expatriate Mohammed Farooq Tahir, who arrived in Dubai in 1958 as a child, reminisces about the pre-unification era and shares his journey from typewriter repairs to witnessing Dubai’s technological transformation.

Childhood Arrival and UAE Unification

Mohammed Farooq Tahir, who arrived in Dubai in 1958 at the age of four, vividly recalls the announcement of the UAE’s formation on December 2, 1971. The unification meant that, before this, each emirate was treated as a separate country, requiring passport checks when moving between them.

Early Travel and Unification Impact: Passport

Tahir reflects on the pre-unification days, mentioning the need for passports and stamps when traveling between emirates. The unification brought relief, especially for family visits to Abu Dhabi, where his brother resided. He nostalgically recounts the long journeys and border checks.

Journey to Dubai

Arriving in Dubai via Muscat, Tahir’s family experienced layovers before reaching the Trucial state of Dubai. The arrival involved smaller boats transporting passengers from the anchored ship to the shore, marking the beginning of their life in Dubai.

Life in Dubai

Growing up in Dubai, Tahir attended Arabic and later Pakistani schools. He engaged in his family’s typewriter repair business, witnessing the construction of a Pakistani school in 1965. Tahir’s father, a typewriter mechanic, owned the American Expert Typewriter Repairing Works, serving Dubai Customs.

Meeting Sheikh Rashid

Tahir fondly remembers a brief encounter with Sheikh Rashid, the ruler at the time, who left a lasting impression. Despite an initial scare, Sheikh Rashid’s smile made the encounter memorable.

Career Evolution

Transitioning from typewriter repairs, Tahir worked for Dubai Defence as a mechanic for printers. However, as technology evolved, he adapted by starting an electrical and electronics auto repair workshop in Umm Ramool.

Dubai’s Transformation: Passport

Tahir’s family witnessed Dubai’s evolution from wooden cottages in Al Qusais to modern buildings in Qusais. He reflects on Dubai’s rapid development, including the shift from typewriters to computers and printers.


Tahir’s journey from a child arriving in Dubai to witnessing its technological transformation reflects not only his personal experiences but also the broader story of Dubai’s growth.

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