Sarfraz is not fine
Sarfraz is not happy in Doha. He's been here only five months, as an Uber driver, but the cost of essentials and the small size of the country make him want to go back to his native Pakistan, or Saudi Arabia where he drove cabs for five years.
"Everything is too expensive here," Sarfraz says as he drives this reporter from a suburb of the Qatari capital to the metro station connecting the downtown.
"In the subcontinent, we always say everything is so expensive. But coming here I realized how expensive things can be," the middle-aged man from Gujranwala in Pakistan, says.
Indeed, it is quite difficult for low-skilled labourers to survive and send money home from this tiny nation, which imports most essentials except for oil, something it has in abundance.
Even buying the most basic grocery items can cost a lot of money, let alone expnses for rent, with prices of essentials shooting up manyfold, thanks to the World Cup.
When asked how much he makes a day after covering his costs, Sarfraz throws an expletive and says, "I didn't come here by choice. I drove cars in Jeddah for five years. Then I went home for vacation and got stuck there due to the lockdown."
"It's such a small country compared to Saudi Arabia," Sarfraz continues. "You take a ride in Jeddah for 100-150 kilometres. Here, most trips are 5 to 10 kilometres. It's hard to make money."
Sarfraz wishes he could go back home, but Pakistan's current economic situation and ongoing political uncertainty doesn't make him too optimistic. Apparently a diehard fan of Imran Khan the politician and Imran Khan the cricketer, the Uber driver says he wishes things would get better in his homeland.
"The place where the shooting took place [the firing on Imran Khan's convoy] is only 15 kilometres from my home," Sarfraz says. "Imran sahab is a good leader and everyone is with him. Even Allah is with him, which is why he survived."