Visits break the ice in Pak-UAE ties
Bilateral economic, diplomatic and political ties between the UAE and Pakistan are poised to grow substantially in the coming years in view of a growing relationship between the leadership of the two countries.
Following two recent visits of Prime Minister Imran Khan to the UAE just after assuming the office, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, visited Islamabad on Sunday along with a high-level delegation for a day-long tour where the leadership of the two countries held a one-on-one meeting as well as delegation-level talks.
Upon arrival in Islamabad, Sheikh Mohamed tweeted that he held official talks with Imran Khan “on enhancing cooperation and friendship and discussed regional and international issues of mutual interest”.
Dr Hadi Shahid, managing partner of the Alliott Hadi Shahid Chartered Accountants, said Pakistan and the UAE enjoyed close relationships historically.
“There was icing in relationship but now the ties are warming up that will restore Pakistan’s role in the region as well as strengthen trade and industrial investment. Both countries have strategic relations in the region. Pakistani nationals have been serving this country for decades and played a great role in the development of institutions of the UAE, especially in Abu Dhabi,” he added.
Pakistan is one of the UAE’s top trading partners with bilateral trade reaching $7 billion last year and is projected to reach $10 billion in the next few years. Currently, there are around 1.4 million Pakistanis working in the UAE in different sectors. In 2017, Pakistanis working in the UAE sent Dh4.1 billion in remittances, becoming the second largest remitters from the emirates.
Reflecting stronger diplomatic ties, the UAE announced a $3 billion financial package for Islamabad in December 2018 to supports its current account deficit and boost foreign exchange reserves.
On the eve of Sheikh Mohamed’s visit to Islamabad, the UAE announced the third phase of the UAE-Pakistan Assistance Programme which consists of 40 projects valuing Dh736 million. Between 2011 and 2017, a total of Dh1.5 billion have been spent on the assistance programme by Abu Dhabi. So far, 57 million Pakistani children have received polio vaccine through the UAE-Pakistan Assistance Programme.
“These developments will go a long way as the UAE played an important role in education and healthcare, supplying millions of units of polio vaccinations for the children in Pakistan. Such sincere friends and good relationship will help both countries,” said Dr Hadi Shahid.
Dr Qaiser Anis, president of the Pakistan Business and Professional Council, Abu Dhabi, said the UAE is already a second home for a large number of Pakistanis and the relationship between the two countries will further grow with the visits of Sheikh Mohamed and Imran Khan.
“Sheikh Mohamed’s visit will help improve bilateral trade to benefit economies of both the countries. The UAE has invested in Parco and in telecom sector and plans to invest in the Karachi desalination plant, bringing the two countries even closer,” he said.
Similarly, Anis said, more investment from Pakistanis will flow in to the UAE as a result of improving ties as Pakistanis are already one of the largest investors in Dubai’s property, automobile, retail and SMEs sectors.
“A lot of Pakistanis from the US are now coming to the UAE and are investing in healthcare, education, infrastructure and entertainment sectors,” he added.