Love, affection and trust is our legacy
Pakistan's Ambassador to the UAE, Moazzam Ahmad Khan
Pakistan's Ambassador to the UAE Moazzam Ahmad Khan says, "UAE's prosperity, security and stability are very close to our hearts as we go on to build a Pakistan that is enterprising and acts as a harbinger of peace and stability in the region." Pakistan's Ambassador to the UAE Moazzam Ahmad Khan says, "UAE's prosperity, security and stability are very close to our hearts as we go on to build a Pakistan that is enterprising and acts as a harbinger of peace and stability in the region."
Pakistan's Ambassador to the UAE, Moazzam Ahmad Khan, has a vision for the future as he tirelessly works towards fostering a "multi-layered relationship." He believes that both the countries are "natural and indispensable partners", and the level of cooperation and trust is bound to grow in the years to come. While he says that the 'sky is the limit', in fact, he looks for horizons much beyond it and foresees an era of selfless affinities and multiple commonalities in all walks of life.
In an exclusive interview with Khaleej Times, Khan - who is popularly known as the 'People's Envoy', made it clear that a strong base for interaction exists, and the need of the hour is to erect an edifice that is futuristic in essence. With more than 1.5 million Pakistanis calling the UAE their second home and having been part of the success story of the UAE in the last four decades, Ambassador Khan says that there is no going back.
"For us, the UAE's stability and security are of cardinal importance, and Pakistan will never shy away from any contribution to make the relationship evergreen for all times to come," the Pakistan envoy spelt out his mandate. "In my two years of stint here in Abu Dhabi, as Pakistan's ambassador, I have just pushed the envelope to an irrevocable level."
Ambassador Khan especially mentioned the $200 million special aid recently announced by the UAE government under the Pakistan Assistance Programme. The objective of the programme is to provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Pakistan and support their development initiatives. He also said the buoyancy in defence cooperation between the two countries, which was manifested in the form of the UAE troops marching in the Pakistan Day parade (March 23) in Islamabad.
Similarly, the envoy recalled the beefed-up interactions during the last many months in the form of Pakistan army chief's visit to the UAE, and the then defence minister's interaction with his counterpart, as well as the remarkable growth registered in the trade and commerce sectors.
Khan while expressing his gratitude, courteously mentioned the role that his counterpart in Islamabad has played a role in keeping track of positivity between the two countries, and hoped that the cooperation would leap forward as more and more tangible factors come together.
He said that the air dashing of Emirates' big bird, A380, to Islamabad underscored the journey that has come full circle, as Pakistan was the first to lease two aircraft to the UAE as Emirates airline was launched. "The decision of Emirates to fly the world's largest passenger aircraft to Islamabad has added a new chapter in our aviation history and is a manifestation of our deep rooted relationship." He recalled that at present there are more than 200 flights per week between the two countries, and more than 300,000 Pakistanis come here for tourism annually.
"Pakistan can do a lot in terms of supporting the UAE, as it becomes a hub for trade and tourism. The UAE and Pakistan already enjoy a high degree of economic integration and connectivity. We are the shortest connection to the UAE to help it reach China, Central Asia, Afghanistan and beyond," Ambassador Khan remarked, saying that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor will undoubtedly serve to accelerate realisation of the lucrative business opportunities for both the countries.
Ambassador Khan, who had served Pakistan at the Foreign Office and also in the US, The Netherlands and India, articulated his plan of action, saying, "Pakistan can go a long way in capacity building and training essential staff for the UAE in various walks of economic life, especially defence. Our expertise in several professional fields is in the wanting, and we will be happy to work with the UAE, which has always stood with us in thick and thin."
He reiterated the trust and love that the founding fathers had for Pakistan and said that the visionary leadership of the UAE is a strategic asset for Pakistan. "I would be failing if I do not mention the pivotal role that the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan played in laying down a strong and abiding foundation for the strategic partnership between our two countries. He had special love in his heart for Pakistan and its people. And till this day, his memory is honoured and celebrated by Pakistanis the world over with great respect and reverence," he remarked.
"The relationship between the UAE and Pakistan is people-centric, and it has endured all kinds of challenges at the regional and global level. This is what makes it taller than the Himalayas. The spirit of bilateralism is unbeatable," Khan eulogised.
The envoy, who keeps himself quite busy with community issues and said to be an intellectual at heart, said, "Love, affection and trust is our legacy, as we are part of the success story of the UAE." This is why, he said, "Come what may, the UAE's prosperity and security are very close to our hearts, and we value it with all sincerity."
"I always want to intermingle with the people and want to know what are their problems. Looking after their interests in the UAE is my responsibility, and I try to ensure that they are facilitated in all possible ways," a beaming people's envoy exclaimed.
Without any doubt, he praised his team and associates at the embassy and consulate for making it possible, the reforms he had envisaged such as Online consular services, as well as issues related to legal and educational domains. "Accessibility is essential. I do not believe in red-tapism. No bureaucratic protocols and barriers. It helps me in addressing their issues as directly and effectively as possible," the top diplomat articulated. "The point is to address the issues of the common man, and for that, we need to have a humble and people-positive approach. No room for officialdom. I have strictly directed the concerned people in my team to look after people's issues on a priority basis," he said.
He added that the Embassy/Consulate are closely working with the UAE Ministry of Labour and Human Resource Development to coordinate policies and ensure that expatriates' issues are taken care of, accordingly.
The most important thing that Ambassador Khan couldn't miss out as he speaks of community welfare is school reforms. Education is close to his heart. "We have worked tirelessly to improve the quality of education imparted at our Pakistani schools. And our efforts have been duly acknowledged by ADEC as well.
Khan takes pride in the fact that despite a regional downslide, Pakistan has been able to maintain manpower inflow to the UAE, and the graph is on the rise. "This also reflects the largesse and generosity of the UAE authorities who believe in the industriousness of Pakistani labour."
The envoy elucidated that through a sustained process, workforce to the UAE is being streamlined. Currently, we are working on a project with the Ministry of Human Resource and Development under which we will train relevant human resources for the UAE companies, as per their requirement in Pakistan.
Pointing out at the Amnesty scheme announced by the UAE, he said he had directed the concerned sections at the embassy and consulate to facilitate the process, and ensure that illegal and stranded Pakistanis who want to make use of this facility, are helped out in every manner.
Khan is known for ensuring reforms that have come full circle. In the last two years, public services are mostly at the click of the mouse, and there aren't long queues at all, whether it is identity card issuance, passport renewal or documents accreditation. "We have developed appropriate software and streamlined the public dealing process. It's all digitalised now, and appointments are online," he added.
The ambassador hopes that the level of cooperation would further enhance with the setting in of a new government in Pakistan, and added that Pakistan is a prime stakeholder in making Expo 2020 a success. "We want to effectively showcase Pakistan's skills, its industrial production, and henceforth, promote trade and commerce activity by selling its soft image," a firm Khan observed.
The articulate 'doer', as Khan is known in diplomatic circles, said, "We are looking at a Pakistan that is emerging with huge potential."