Depressed over mounting financial debts, a seemingly affluent 40-year-old Pakistani man in Dubai drowned his two daughters and then killed himself in his villa in the Emirate. Gulf News identified the father as Khurram Iqbal, who worked as Director of Operations for a multinational company in Dubai.
The National newspaper of Dubai reported that the man’s 36-year-old wife came home from a night out to find her husband’s body floating in the compound’s swimming pool, and her daughters, ages 2 and 7, dead upstairs (with the older one strangled as well). The family’s Ethiopian maid later told police the husband was depressed over financial problems. Gulf News also reported that the family lived in an upscale community located behind Global Village, a huge tourist/entertainment complex in Dubai.
Police sources told Dubai media that just prior to killing his daughters and himself, the Pakistani husband sent his wife a text message declaring that she deserved a better life than he could provide for her, and that he would end his life. Gulf News also said that Iqbal’s brother-in-law (his wife’s brother) was home at the time of the killings.
The mother was admitted to a hospital following the horrific discovery, Gulf News said. However, the Emarat Al-Youm newspaper reported that the husband was having personal problems with his wife, who is described as having a "strong" and independent character. Indeed, she was attending a concert by Indian film star Shah Rukh Khan that evening without her husband or children.
With details of the murders still sketchy, police said they will have to continue the investigation, which will include the results of the post-mortem examination by local medical officials.
Dubai, one of the wealthiest of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has a population of some 2.2 million, the majority (82 percent) of whom are foreign migrant workers, principally from India, Pakistan and The Philippines. Moreover, since the overwhelming majority of Asian workers in the emirate are unskilled men who toil in construction, Dubai has a glaring gender imbalance -- some 75 percent of the population is male.
The Iqbals were apparently the exception to this scenario, since they were a whole family who belonged to the professional class, despite their financial woes. Many Pakistani businessmen not only have homes in Dubai and the UAE, but many have also have invested heavily in the emirates’ real estate sector. Pakistani media reported that some 6,000 Pakistani-owned companies operate in the UAE.
Some 1.5 million Pakistanis reside across all the Emirates, making it one of the world’s largest Pakistani expatriate communities, behind only Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom. The Pakistani migrant community in the UAE provides a crucial economic lifeline to the Pakistan itself -- remittances from the global Pakistani diaspora contribute approximately 6 percent to the nation’s GDP, with the Middle East accounting for about 60 percent of the nearly $14 billion in remittances sent home annually. The UAE alone represented $2.75 billion of that figure.
Palash has worked as a business journalist for 21 years in New York.