Indian, Pakistani expats win millions in UAE’s Big Ticket draw


khaleejtimes.com, 09-01-2021 16:27:13


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Indian, Pakistani expats win millions in UAE’s Big Ticket draw

The winners will share the prize with colleagues and help the needy.

The New Year 2021 has kicked off in the best possible way for three expats in the UAE - becoming millionaires by winning the Big Ticket Abu Dhabi draw.

The top three winners comprise Indian and Pakistani expats, including Saudi Arabia-based Keralite Saju Thomas - who pocketed Dh3 million in the Big Ticket Abu Dhabi raffle - while close to home Ejaz Rafi Kiyani from Dubai bagged Dh1 million among the top three winners.

For the first time, the draw picked three millionaires.

Both Thomas and Kiyani have been trying their luck for the past two years and will be sharing the prize money with their colleagues. The unexpected windfall comes as a great relief for the winners.

Also read: Dh20m winner who gave wrong number found in Oman

For the past 20 years, Thomas has been slogging it out in the oil rigs of Saudi Arabia. He is happy that along with him, the amount will help secure the future of eight others.

“All of them are my colleagues and thrilled to have finally won after two years of continuous attempts. Everyone has financial obligations. Back home in Kottayam district, I have my wife Reeba and two kids Jennifer and Johan. I had built a new home. Now, I will repay my loans easily. I will also use this money to help the needy.”

Meanwhile, it’s a double delight for tourist guide Kiyani. He will be able to send his child back to school. Kiyani was placed on unpaid leave for eight months and couldn’t afford the school fees.

“The pandemic affected the tourism sector badly. I have three small kids and one used to go to school - but when he got promoted to Grade 1, I couldn’t even pay his fees. I had to discontinue his studies. Now, he will be back to school,” said the native of Pakistan’s Jhelum district.

The win is also a vindication for Kiyani, who used to encourage his friends to keep trying their luck despite failing in the past two years.

“I run a WhatsApp group called Desert Kings with a few tour operators and guides. I used to goad them into purchasing a Big Ticket. I bought this ticket along with 18 others. We hadn’t won anything before this but remained positive. My wife Samreen has been motivating me, and now we have won. With tourism also seeing a revival in Dubai, I plan to start a tourism firm named ’Desert Kings’. I wish to help others too.”

Both winners stressed that they will continue to buy tickets until they win the grand prize like Abdussalam N.V., the Omani expat who hit Dh20 million jackpot in the first draw of the year.

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