It was early reward for Islamabad captain Misbah-ul-Haq who won the toss and elected to field after inspection of another batting paradise of a track in Dubai.
Kevin Pietersen entered the scene of his third T20 final on the bounce but despite some early authority he was superbly caught for 18 by Asif Ali off Andre Russell.
Quetta were in danger of their innings faltering before it even got going but Ahmed Shehzad and Kumar Sangakkara came together in a frenetic third wicket partnership of 87 that put them in a position to post a strong total.
Shehzad was handed a lifeline on 38 when he skied Irfan to Khalid Lateef at mid-off but the fielder shelled a huge opportunity.
It seemed to kick start the pair into gear, sparking Sangakkara into using his feet to punish Lateef’s bowling with imposing strokes through mid-wicket and down the ground.
The Sri Lankan paced his innings masterfully and reached his fifty from 30 balls with another maximum down the ground but fell two balls later for 55.
Shehzad was still there, though, and the Pakistan opener reached a half century of his own an over later.
He had despatched a single six and 9 fours by the time he departed for 64 from 39 balls, ramping Mohammad Sami straight to Samuel Badree at short fine-leg with Quetta 147-5 in the 17th over.
Some late hitting saw Quetta post 174-7 from their 20 overs, setting up a thrilling run chase.
Irfan (2-25) and Andre Russell (3-36) were the pick of the bowlers for Islamabad.
And they wasted no time in reply, Dwayne Smith and centurion in the last match Sharjeel Khan bludgeoning 15 from the first over.
It looked like there was no stopping the pair as they raced to 53-0 in 5.2 overs thanks, both openers looking remarkably fluid as they cleared the ropes and found gaps at will.
But two balls later Quetta finally had their breakthrough, Sharjeel skipping down the wicket to Nathan McCullum but getting nowhere near the ball and being bowled for 13.
Smith continued his onslaught and raced to fifty in double quick time before, like Shehzad, being given a lifeline on 52 as he was dropped in the deep off Muhammad Nawaz.
By the time Smith and Brad Haddin had made fifty for the second wicket, Islamabad were cruising along at 104-1 and eight overs remaining.
Haddin eased to his fifty from 31 balls, only for Smith to depart with the next delivery for a smashing 73 off 51 balls.
It opened a door for Quetta and despite Russell hitting a brutal six over cover off his first ball, he perished in the next over to Aizaz Cheema.
And despite Lateef departing for 16 late on there were no further problems for Islamabad, who took victory with eight balls to spare.