Serving community is our top priority
The Consul-General says the UAE and Pakistan have strong relations in every field and these are expected to grow further in years to come
The Consulate General of Pakistan in Dubai accords topmost priority to facilitate overseas Pakistanis and takes all necessary actions to resolve their problems at the earliest, its top official says.
Ahmed Amjad Ali, Consul-General of Pakistan in Dubai and the Northern Emirates said the consulate regular services are back to normal as it has been serving the community at the consulate since July 1, 2020, after three months disruptions due to the pandemic.
"We welcome up to 1,200 visitors to the consulate daily and extend best possible services to renew their passports and national identity cards as well as issue visas, provide documents attestation facility and resolve labour issues," Ali told Khaleej Times during an interview on the eve of Pakistan Day.
He said the consulate has introduced a number of measures such as online booking and extended timings from 7 am to 3 pm during Sunday to Thursday to facilitate the overseas community residing in Dubai and the Northern Emirates.
"We will soon resume consular services in Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah as the situation improves after the pandemic," Ali said.
The consulate used to provide consular services every Friday in the northern emirates, but the services were suspended after the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Scholarships, legal services
Ali said the consulate has recently signed agreements and MoUs with five international universities to offer scholarships to shining students of Pakistani residents in the UAE.
"We offer special scholarships to cover up to 100 per cent tuition fees in education and arts, computer science, IT and business and management sciences, among others. This facility is open to all Pakistani students in the UAE either they are studying at Pakistani schools or other institutions," he said.
Ali said the consulate also acquired services of a legal firm to provide free legal advice to Pakistanis facing labour, visa and payment issues during the pandemic.
"We have set up a legal desk at the consulate to provide free legal consultancy to Pakistanis. The lawyer sits at the consulate twice a week, Mondays and Wednesdays, and gives legal advice free of cost," he said.
"Expats facing minor issues such as arbitration, visiting a police station or jail or figuring out the status of their problem are now addressed without any fees," Ali said.
Jobs loss, payments issue
To a question, the Consul-General said the consulate and the Government of Pakistan accord top priority to facilitate overseas Pakistanis who have lost their jobs during the pandemic.
"We have successfully repatriated stranded Pakistanis when the pandemic caused flight disruptions last year. Many Pakistanis also lost their jobs during the pandemic," the Consul-General said.
"It's a great challenge to accommodate those Pakistanis who lost their jobs. We are doing our best to settle them in the country and put them on a priority list if new opportunities exist either in the country or abroad," he said.
Bilateral trade growing
The Consul-General said bilateral trade between the UAE and Pakistan remained steady despite economic slowdown in the wake of the pandemic crisis.
"Bilateral trade reached at $7.5 billion in 2020 despite some disruptions due to the Covid-19 crisis," Ali said.
He said Pakistani companies are actively participating in the UAE exhibitions to promote commercial activities between the two countries. Pakistan businesses also play their due role in the development of the UAE as well as increase bilateral trade relations.
"We had very active participation of Pakistani companies in Gulfood last month. About 60 companies in the food and beverages sector attended the five-day event and showcased their products," he said.
Ali said the UAE and Pakistan have strong relations in every field and these are expected to grow further in years to come.
"Our relations have further strengthened following closer collaboration during the pandemic months. I'm thankful to the UAE government, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, aviation authorities and airlines who extended full cooperation to repatriate stranded Pakistanis during the pandemic," he said.
The Consul-General said the Pakistani community will continue to play their due role in the prosperity of UAE and Pakistan.
"Both countries exchanged high-level delegations to foster bilateral relations. Syed Zulfiqar Bukhari, special assistant to Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development was the first foreign dignitary to visit the UAE after the outbreak of the pandemic," Ali said.
To a question about the Expo 2020 Dubai, he said the Pakistan pavilion is ready to promote the country's culture, art and tourism opportunities in line with the exhibition themes.
"Pakistani companies and businesses will actively participate in the event and make it a success. I hope this flagship project will further strengthen our relationships with the UAE and its commercial entities," the Consul-General concluded.
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