The Pakistan Pavilion was handed over to Pakistani authorities after the completion of building civil works at an official ceremony at the Expo 2020 Dubai site on March 14. The pavilion, located in the Opportunity District, was built at the cost of $28.72 million and occupies a large plot of 35,000 square feet. The inner journey of the pavilion is set under the theme 'Pakistan: The Hidden Treasure' with an aim to enhance Pakistan tourism, commerce and investment.Â
Abdul Razak Dawood, Advisor to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on commerce and investment; Muhammad Sualeh Ahmed Faruqui, Secretary at the Ministry of Commerce; Afzaal Mahmood, Ambassador of Pakistan to the UAE; Ahsan Ali Mangi, Secretary Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) and other senior officials attended the completion ceremony.
Omar Shehadeh, Chief International Participants Officer at Expo 2020 Dubai, Ahmed Al Khatib, Chief Development and Delivery Officer and Ahmed Al Hamdan, Country Manager for Pakistan at Expo 2020 Dubai, were also present.
"I would like to thank all the stakeholders who helped us build this beautiful Pakistan Pavilion," Dawood said, as Emirati officials handed over the pavilion to the Pakistani delegation, adding: "I would also like to appreciate the efforts of the Ministry of Commerce and the TDAP for their hard work as well as the UAE government for their support and cooperation and hope for the same until the successful completion of the Expo."
Dawood also said that the pavilion will serve as a hub of business opportunities with the expectations of giving the Pakistani business community access to networking with the international market and investors.
Dawood mentioned that Pakistan is bestowed with natural beauty, historical and religious sites, the highest peaks and calm deserts. It is the destination for mountaineers, historians, archaeologists, writers, photographers and many such tourists.Â
This was the inspiration behind setting the theme for the pavilion as 'Hidden Treasures'. The pavilion will take visitors on a journey from the beginning of civilisation to the tribulations of the present era while showcasing the best of Pakistan's unique, vibrant culture and heritage and its outstanding development and stature in the economy, energy, logistics, infrastructure, realty sector and human resources through an immersive digital experience.
Dawood said: "Through our theme at Expo 2020 Dubai, we plan to present and showcase the land of opportunities to promote tourism, commerce and investment in the country. On the sidelines, the TDAP is also planning six months of events, which will comprise of trade and investment seminars and conferences, cultural shows and events."
Rizwan Tariq, director general of TDAP said that the goal is to inform visitors of those facts on Pakistan they may not be aware of.Â The pavilion will promote, a 7,000-year-old civilisation, art and craft, religious harmony, natural wonders, and the economic potential and dynamism of the people.
Due to the strong bilateral relations between Pakistan and UAE, the 2,900-square metre pavilion, with a modular and flexible design, will be part of Expo 2020's legacy initiative, to potentially be transformed into a Pakistan Culture and Heritage Centre, contributing towards education and innovation.
Expo 2020 backed projects
Tallying with the Expo's Global Best Practice theme, 'Small Steps, Big Leaps: Simple Solutions for Sustainable Impact', clever, local development projects with the potential to be adapted and scaled for enhanced global impact are spotlighted. Out of 1,175 applications from 141 countries received, two from Pakistan were selected. Among the five priority development areas, both feature in the 'Social Development' arena.
First, The Citizens Foundation, a non-profit organisation and one of the largest privately-owned networks of low-cost formal schools in the country, is fighting the challenge of providing quality education for women and children from rural and slum communities. It hires only female teachers and principals to deliver quality education in Pakistan's most neglected rural and slum communities where children, especially girls, are out of school.
In the second stream of project selection 'Goats for Water', a project from Pakistan-based social enterprise UpTrade, easing the economic marginalisation of low-income, water-stressed rural communities through a bartering mechanism that uses goats rather than money, was highlighted.Â