Sheikh Khalifa was a true humanitarian and friend

The late leader adopted a comprehensive development approach to support the stability of people in Pakistan

By Hamad Obaid Al Zaabi

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Published: Wed 18 May 2022, 10:11 PM

We are deeply saddened by the demise of the late Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who passed away after an illustrious and distinguished leadership that successfully served the nation and its people.

As we mourn the loss of an exceptional leader who paved the way to success for his people, we have found solace in the appointment of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, as our nation’s president in continuing Sheikh Khalifa’s legacy and championing peaceful coexistence, security, stability and prosperity both at home and further afield.

Sheikh Khalifa dedicated his life to imparting the boundless values of brotherhood, charitable giving and tolerance both in the UAE and across continents. This could not be more true than in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, where he was instrumental in strengthening bilateral relations, having shown tremendous care for the interests of Pakistanis both in the UAE and their homeland.

Among the many examples of Sheikh Khalifa’s humanitarian efforts, was the UAE-Pakistan Assistance Program (UAEPAP) launched in 2011, which aimed to help the Pakistani people from the devastating floods in 2010. Having followed in the footsteps of his father, the late Sheikh Zayed, Sheikh Khalifa adopted a comprehensive development approach to support the stability of people in Pakistan.

In January 2019, under Sheikh Khalifa’s leadership, the UAE Pakistan Assistance Program (UAEPAP) Program launched the third phase of its initiative, by implementing 40 development and humanitarian projects in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan worth $200 million, financed by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development.

This came as a continuation of the first and second phases of projects through the UAEPAP that were implemented from 2011 and 2017 in many Pakistani regions, totaling 165 projects worth $420 million. The third phase of the project provided assistance in key areas, namely roads, bridges, education, health, water supply and the agriculture sector, in addition to providing humanitarian and food aid to the most needed and displaced communities, and implementing polio vaccination campaigns.

Furthermore, under the directives of Sheikh Khalifa, and with the support of Sheikh Mohamed, the Emirates Polio Vaccination Campaign was delivered in Pakistan, from 2014 to 2021, which provided over 410 million doses of polio vaccines to more than 71 million Pakistani children, aged under five years.

In 2005, when an earthquake shook Pakistan, Sheikh Khalifa issued directives to send relief aid, as well as rescue teams to help the victims and the injured. Additionally, he allocated $100 million to provide urgent relief aid and establish housing for thousands of victims affected by the earthquake.

Moreover, Sheikh Khalifa ordered the establishment of field hospitals in areas affected by the earthquake to provide urgent medical assistance and treatment for the injured and wounded. The UAE’s search and rescue teams were deployed to assist with recovery operations in the most affected areas, where other teams were not able to reach.

In this regard, we thank the Pakistani people and officials for their sincere condolences to the leader of the UAE. We highly appreciate the declaration by Pakistan of national mourning, and positioning its national flag to be flown at half-mast for three days as a symbol of respect for Sheikh Khalifa.

The legacy of Sheikh Khalifa will live on through Sheikh Mohamed and his people, to accomplish the journey of progress and development, and to further strengthen relations with Pakistan and other countries.

The author is the UAE ambassador to Pakistan

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