Tuesday, 2 December 2014

'UAE and Pakistan have always maintained brotherly ties'

1. It's been 43 years since the formation of UAE and it has become a beacon of economic prowess and it has been a popular destination for Pakistanis, please shed some light on that.

-- We are lucky to be founded by Visionary Leader, HH (Late) Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. It was because his idea of a modern and progressive state that led to our economic prowess and becoming regional trading hub, leader in foreign direct investment. Thousands of Small & Medium businesses have been formed in free trade zones and billions of dollars coming to UAE in the form of investment, our doors are always open for expats from Pakistan for whom we have a special bond since the beginning of our country. We consider Pakistan our second home and Pakistanis consider UAE as their second home, millions of Pakistanis reside with happiness and prosperity in my country.

2. How would you define UAE- Pakistan relationship?

-- The UAE and Pakistan are friends of mutual trust and unconditional concern to each other; it's been 43 years of my country's formation. And the UAE-Pakistan relationship is as old as my country since Pakistan was one of the first countries to recognise us in 1971. UAE will always remember Pakistan's contribution to the development of its institutions and economic prowess. So whenever our brothers in Pakistan become victims of national calamity or disaster or in need for humanitarian assistance the UAE becomes the first country to respond. And we have always responded whether the earthquake in 2010 or the Sindh floods due to rain.

3. Can you further elaborate on the relief activities in Pakistan?

-- The UAE has started nearly 200 projects covering many sectors including hospitals, schools, housing units and amenities are spread in various parts of Pakistan. In the rural areas water supply was made available to people, their livestock and for irrigation of arid lands. In the Urban centers many projects have been set-up for the Pakistani people by the UAE such as Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan hospital in Lahore, Sheikh Zayed International Academy in Islamabad, Khalifa Hospitals in Muzafarabad and Rawalakot among many other projects spread in various parts of Pakistan. Recently we distributed food items and relief supplies to over 1500 families in Sindh donated by HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Al-Nahyan and the UAE will continue to do so in future.

4. What in your point of view is the best sector for UAE to invest in Pakistan?

-- The UAE has been in the recent past investing in a lot of sectors in telecom, banking and finance, power and energy, automobile and aviation sectors. But what has been sector of focus for Emiratis has been Pakistan's agricultural sector, Pakistan is an agriculture based economy and Pakistan is a world leader in agriculture based products like rice, wheat and mangos. So Emiratis want to invest in this sector and the Government as per its food outsourcing policy is also investing in Pakistan.

5. What is the future of the UAE-Pakistan relationship with regards to Expo 2020?

-- UAE- Pakistan since the beginning has always maintained brotherly ties without any strings attached, we have always been partners in the fields of economy, banking, oil & gas and power & energy. Pakistanis are our friends who helped us build UAE and like always Pakistan will be a vital partner in Expo 2020. A lot Pakistanis are coming there to work in the UAE in run-up to Expo 2020. We have opened our doors for employment and business for our Pakistani comrades to all. You will see in the years to come there would many mutually beneficial partnerships in between our countries till 2020.

6. What is your message to the people of Pakistan?

-- This is my 15th year in Pakistan and throughout my stay I have come across hard working and diligent Pakistanis that have so much potential and administrative capability which is second-to-none. Pakistan is blessed to have climates ranging from -50 to 50 degrees centigrade, it has mountains and rivers and all kinds of resources. Having said that the people of Pakistan are skilled and capable enough to manage it in the best possible way. It is a promising future for Pakistan to grow in the years to come and I wish the best of luck to Pakistanis for the future.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2014

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