I had planned to be back in Karachi last week, but dur ing my stay here, I met Sadru Hashwani, an old friend from Karachi, who is a well-known personality in Pakistan. He persuaded me to stay a few more days and celebrate his 70th birthday last Thursday, the day I was supposed to leave for Karachi. His daughter, Sara, had planned a party for her father in Dubais well known Mirage Hotel and invited Roop Kumar and Sonari Rathor from Bombay to entertain us. And of course, Dubais Whose Who were there, including many old friends and familiar faces from Karachi. Jst. Fakruddin G. Ebrahim, our former Governor, Dr. Hafeez Pasha, Dr. Hafeez Sheikh, former ministers, Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, CEO, GEO and Dr. Shahid Masood, the controversial anchor of GEO and many others were there to wish and sing Happy Birthday to Sadru. During my stay, I met Zafar Siddiqi, CEO, CNBC, who has now established Murdochs International Study Centre, Dubai, in collaboration with the Murdoch University, Perth, Western Australia, of which he is also the CEO. I also met Muslim Lakhani, with whom I had acted in a Neil Simons comedy play, Come Blow Your Horn, in the late 60s. He had played the role of the playboy son who refused to get married and I had played the tough father. Now back to the city of Dubai. Well there is only one word to describe it, AMAZING. Each hotel tries to out do the other, of which the leading contenders are Burj Al Arab, The Mina Salam, The Mirage, Atlantis, Palm Deira and Jumera Beach Hotel, just to name a few. The buildings in Dubai are all so an architects paradise, with glittering, glass and steel sky scrapers of all shapes and sizes and the needle like structure of Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, surging into the heavens. This imposing building has a moat with musical fountains, which thrill the crowd from all over the word to a ten minute spectacular show of sound and music through out the evening. Then there are the famous shopping malls of Dubai, starting with the Mall of the Emirates, followed by Dubai Mall, with its ski run and the well known Ibn Battuta Mall, dedicated to Abu Abdullah Muhammad, who was born in Tangier, Morocco, in 1304 C.E. He was the celebrated 14th-century Muslim geographer and medieval traveler, who is known to have visited the lands of every Muslim ruler of his time. He also travelled to far away lands of Africa, China, India, Sri Lanka and many other parts of the world. This historical mall is split into six main courts, China, with its huge Chinese Junk at the entrance, India, with a life size replica of the Gateway of India and a mighty elephant, Egypt, with its historical pyramid, followed by Persia, Tunisia and Andalusia, the Arabic name given to the parts of the Iberian Peninsula and Septimania, a generic name of the Moors. However, my favorite place in the city is the Madianth Jumera, with its heritage shops and numerous restaurants, scattered around the canal, with its Venetian Gondolas, floating silently and gracefully through its still waters. My other favorite is the popular JBR, Jumera Beach Resort, with its many restaurants on The Walk and over ten, top of the line, luxury apartment buildings, of which Dubai has many. JBR is like any other beach area in Europe or America, with all the water sport facilities, including Para Sailing. But Dubai is also a nightmare for enlightened town planners, as the development work seems to be spinning out of control. Tall skyscrapers are being squeezed into all open spaces in the central part of the city, blocking the skyline. And to facilitate and encourage investment, the government has leased out over 70% of the prime beach area to 5-star hotels, thus depriving the citizens free access to the beaches. The locals, who make up only 20% of the population, are happy that their comfortable life style, which is being financed by foreigners, but there are some locals and even expatriates who are apprehensive with the pace of unchecked development. They feel that the bubble of rapid success has to burst in time and that the financial crisis is not over and has been put on hold by heavy borrowing at high interest rates. They feel that Dubai is just a glittering city, with sand castles on sand dunes, which could be blown away in the wind by the next financial storm. As such, the city has no soul or identity and has become a money making machine, working for the Yankee Dollar, by catering for the needs and the pleasures of the rich and the famous. To solve the growing traffic problem, the government has introduced the overhead Metro train. I tried it out, but was very disappointed and I dont think it would be successful in its present set up. The metro stations are badly located and there is a lot of walking. However, the government seems to have realized this problem and 7 more Metro stations will be operational by the end of April. No doubt, the quality of life provided by the government of Dubai is excellent and can be compared with any of the other developed nations in the world. However, there are strict controls and restrictions and curbs on civil liberties, especially for expatriates from India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, who make up the work force of Dubai and have built this glittering city on sand dunes with their sweat and tears. But that is the price one has to pay for the quality of life provided by the government. While countries around us are reaching for the stars, we, in Pakistan, are still bickering over the appointment of judges, fighting corruption and searching for the elusive bird of Good Governance. We are still looking for a system of government that will end corruption, establish accountability and a code of conduct in government and society and end the VIP culture, with the 'one law for you and one law for me mindset. Will the judicial activism launched by our courageous CJ be 'The Dawning of the Angels, only time will tell? But if we dont wake up soon and establish good governance in the near future, it will be too late and Pakistan will indeed implode in due time. (email: trust@super.net.pk)