Progressive Partnership

Imtiaz Feroz Gondal Charge d’ Affaires Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan reiterates the bond shared by both nations in many areas



By Muhammad Ali Bandial

Published: Sun 14 Aug 2022, 12:00 AM

Pakistan and the UAE have enjoyed a long history of friendly ties, said a top diplomat.

Imtiaz Feroz Gondal, Charge d’ Affaires, Embassy of Pakistan in Abu Dhabi, said that the relations between the UAE and Pakistan have stood the test of time. Elaborating on the strong bonds, Gondal said: “Pakistan was the first country to recognise the UAE. Since then, the relations between both the brotherly countries have been very pleasant and trouble-free. The foundation of our strong relations was laid by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and nurtured by the successive leaderships of both the countries. No regional or internal developments can come in their way. The two consult each other frequently and cooperate bilaterally as well at the regional and international fora on issues of mutual interest.” He added that both nations are always striving do their best to further strengthen and diversify our brotherly ties by focusing on trade, investment and people-to-people connections.

The UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan meets with Pakistan PrimeMinister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif in Abu Dhabi in May 2022.
The UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan meets with Pakistan PrimeMinister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif in Abu Dhabi in May 2022.

Strengthening Bilateral Ties

Gondal said that the negotiations on the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Pakistan and GCC are underway. Meanwhile, Pakistan and the UAE are also exploring other ways and means to further strengthen institutional mechanisms for enhancing economic and trade relations between both countries. “I foresee a greater potential for enhanced cooperation between our two countries in the areas of food processing, fashion industry, higher education, medicine, petrochemicals, IT, tourism and people-to-people contacts,” he added.

Pakistan and the UAE have enjoyed a very robust economic and development partnership, with both countries playing an important role in the others progress and development. Gondal was effusive in his praise for the UAE, saying: “The UAE supported Pakistan through the Pakistan Assistance Programme (PAP) by implementing a number of humanitarian and development projects and provided $23 million in support of the polio eradication pro¬gramme. The UAE also provided economic assistance to Pakistan for balance of payment support.” He also said that a number of infrastructural projects have been completed by the UAE under PAP, including the construction of hospitals, roads, bridges and educational institutions. “There has been a steady flow of FDI from the UAE to Pakistan over the years and the country remains Pakistan’s largest trading partner in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region with an average annual trade of $8.5 billion.”

CPEC in Focus

China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a mutually beneficial venture between Pakistan and China. Speaking about the beneficial role of CPEC in the region, Gondal conceded that it is aimed at further strengthening of economic and trade relations between the two nations. “The expansion of CPEC can enhance economic cooperation between various regional countries for common development. Potential areas of cooperation and development include: regional connectivity, transport infrastructure, energy flows, socio-economic development and tourism development etc. CPEC would offer unique opportunity to the Gulf region to access Chinese and Central Asian economies through Pakistan ports and highways.”

Attracting Companies and Investors

The trade between the UAE and Pakistan has steadily grown in recent years to reach the level of $8.5 billion. Gondal said that the trend has been generally positive over the years, he said: “Over ten thousand Pakistanis own business companies in the UAE and dozens of Pakistan-based companies have footprints in the country, presenting a favourable business environment due to its excellent infrastructural facilities, coupled with professional expertise and personalised services.”

Community Contribution

Acknowledging the contribution of the Pakistani diaspora, Gondal said: “We are grateful to the leadership of the UAE for hosting around 1.7 million Pakistanis with honour and dignity. Pakistanis in the UAE have played a positive role in the development of both countries. Their remittances have supported Pakistan’s economy by improving livelihoods and easing the pressure in times of economic difficulties.”

Message to the community

Gondal said that the Pakistani community in the UAE is very hardworking and law abiding. They are the true ambassadors of Pakistan, representing the country through their conduct. He said: “I avail this opportunity to reach out to all Pakistani brothers and sisters in the UAE to appeal to them to strictly follow the rules and regulations of the host government and to demonstrate the utmost responsibility and courtesy while dealing with others. I feel proud when people in this country say they find Pakistanis intelligent, hard-working and law-abiding. I would also like to use this opportunity to assure every Pakistani of our best efforts to help and sup¬port them while they try to support their families and the nation. May Allah bless all of us and our beloved country.”

— ali@khaleejtimes.com


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