Pakistan FM lauds UAE for helping bridge $20 billion BoP crisis

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Dubai - Qureshi asks missions to take the community’s problems seriously and solve them.

By Waheed Abbas

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Published: Sat 17 Apr 2021, 11:54 PM

Last updated: Sun 18 Apr 2021, 12:41 AM

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Saturday thanked friendly countries including the UAE, Saudi Arabia and China in overcoming $20 billion of balance of payment (BoP) crisis faced by the South Asian country due to the Covid-19 crisis.

Qureshi was speaking in Dubai at an Iftar dinner hosted by the Pakistan Business Council. The foreign minister arrived in Dubai on Saturday on a three-day official visit to the UAE.

During the visit, Qureshi will meet Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and other senior UAE officials.

The Pakistani foreign minister will hold consultations on all areas of bilateral cooperation including collaboration in trade and investment, job opportunities for Pakistani workforce and the welfare of Pakistani diaspora. He will also discuss regional and global issues of mutual interest. The UAE is home to the second-largest Pakistani community abroad.

He said the country is facing the third wave of coronavirus which is quite a concern as infection rate is increasing and hospitals are crowded.

Despite limited resources, Qureshi said the PTI government released $8 billion stimuli to support the healthcare sector and to keep the economy running.

“We comparatively came out successful in the first two waves of Covid-19. But the third wave is serious and infection rate is rising,” he said, adding that when the PTI government came into power, the economy was in poor shape.

“We tried to maintain a balancing act to keep the economy running. There was a resource gap of $20 billion was which not easy to fill. I thank friendly countries including the UAE, Saudi Arabia and China who helped with the balance of payment,” Qureshi said while addressing the Pakistan business community on Saturday.

He also thanked the country’s diaspora for supporting the country’s economy with remittances which have been consistently staying above $2 billion for the past 10 months.

Missions must help community abroad

He urged the country’s diplomats abroad to look after the community which is a big asset for the country.

“Please look after the community and provide help to them. That is the main role of our missions. If our people are not happy, then there is no point of having missions. We don’t need officials who can’t support the community in tough times. We don’t need diplomats who don’t give respect to our citizens and care for the community,” he said in the speech.

Qureshi said some diplomats from a GCC country were recalled due to performance basis.

However, he praised hard-working diplomats who are performing exceptionally well even with limited resources.

He praised overseas Pakistanis who have made a big name in foreign countries.

“Many of overseas Pakistanis are representatives in the UK parliament. They didn’t have big connections when they landed in the UK. But through sheet hard work, they have risen and have been recognised for their talent and provide good service to their community,” Qureshi told the gathering.

He said countries who have high forex reserves and don’t knock at the door of the IMF often or seek support from friendly countries have respect and other countries listen to them and take their foreign policy seriously.

“I observed that foreign policy objectives cannot achieved if the country is not stable economically… My priority is economic diplomacy. We should learn from the world and bring reforms and try to improve the economy,” he added.

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