The bilateral relations between the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan are acquiring new dimensions at all political, economic and social levels emerging into trust-worthy strategic partnership.
Right from the beginning, the UAE has been famous among all comity of the world due to its generous humanitarian assistance, stability, tolerance, innovation, vision for better health and education. Now, it has become hub of investments, re-exports, technologies, tourism, and the last not the least, renewable energies.
In Pakistan, it encourages investment and calls for greater trade and commerce activities. UAE is one of the largest investors in the country but bilateral trade has been steadily growing over the years and people-to-people contacts are constantly on the increase.
The founder of UAE Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan was keen to give an impetus to the bilateral relations between the two countries from the very beginning. It was further strengthened and patronized by H.H. Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of the UAE and H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, Vice-President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.
Both countries reaffirm their strong commitment to further reinforce the bonds of friendship. They urge the need to expand the horizon of their bilateral cooperation in diverse fields reflecting deep-rooted and historic ties.
Around 1.4 million Pakistani expatriates are working in UAE .They sent $ 2.45 billion being the highest remittances in the current fiscal year which contributed significantly in the macro-economy of Pakistan.
The UAE is the largest investors in Pakistan among the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The report of the UAE Ministry of Foreign Trade showed that public and private sectors invested about $3.74 bn in Pakistan during 2004- 2010.
The report indicates that multinational companies have made investments in different sectors in Pakistan including the Emirates National Oil Company, "Enoch", The International Petroleum Investment Company "IPIC" The Emirates Telecommunications Corporation "Etisalat", Dana gas, Al Ghurair, Emaar, DP World, Abraaj Capital, Thani, Danata, Atharihra agricultural Company, Gulf Pharmaceutical Industries "Julfar," the Emirates Investment Group, the Arab Company for Packaging, Al Nasser Holdings.
Pakistan offers vast opportunities for foreign direct investments and joint ventures in infrastructure development; electricity generation, water desalination, agricultural based industries, insurance and real estate.
Prospects of initiating joint ventures in aluminum products, agriculture (horticulture, farming, dairy farming and livestock, financial sector, housing prefabricated houses and affordable low income houses are bright. Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) can also be tapped.
Aviation plays very important role in promoting bilateral trade volumes. More than 90 flights weekly fly from UAE to different cities of Pakistan and which are operated by five national carriers Etihad Airways, Emirates. Fly Dubai, Al Arabia and RAK.
Keeping in view, the importance of greater aviation cooperation a delegation of the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA,) recently visited Islamabad to explore new avenues of mutual cooperation. Agreements to increase number of flights operated by UAE's national carriers between the two countries were signed.
UAE Project to assist Pakistan
Upon the directives of H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan the President of UAE, the UAE project to assist Pakistan was launched in January 2011 at a total cost of US$100 million for the reconstruction of infrastructure damaged by devastating floods and natural calamities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Bajaur and South Waziristan districts of the tribal belt to provide better life to the people by creating jobs. The Project is to focus on four major sectors: education, public health, roads, bridges and supply of water treatment plants and networks.
Mr. Abdullah Al Ghafli, head of the Project, said in a statement that the projects are progressing on schedule and work has already covered 98 per cent of 51 educational projects, and 85 per cent of 64 water-related projects. He also added that work on Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Bridge has been completed and that it will be inaugurated later this year, while work on the Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Bridge, the longest bridge over the Swat River, is going according to schedule and expected to be completed in August 2012.
Al Gafli indicated that UAE Project to Assist Pakistan will soon announce a number of health care projects for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and South Waziristan to ensure better health care for the local populace especially women and children.
Generous humanitarian assistance has been epicenter of UAE. The leaders of UAE always stood first to lessen the sufferings of the people affected in times of national crisis caused by natural calamities by sending teams and relief goods in the country.
Teams from UAE Military Relief Force, charitable foundations and organisations played dutiful role in the rescue, distribution of supplies and rehabilitation of victims of earthquake and floods through lengthy operations carried out by Chinooks helicopters in the most flood affected regions ofPunjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochitsan Provinces. UAE Military Field Hospitals were installed in many remote areas of the country to treat thousands of flood-victims and launch necessary vaccination campaigns to save children, women and elderly people from diseases.
Under the directives of HH the President of UAE, a joint relief team was recently formed by representatives of UAE Armed Forces, Khalifa Bin Zayed Humanitarian Foundation, Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Charitable and humanitarian Foundation, the Red Crescent and Sharjah Charity society for providing humanitarian assistance to the flood affected people in Sindh. The team which arrived in Karachi in mid September, 2011 was rigorously engaged in providing shelters and foodstuff to the floods victims in several inundated districts of Sind Province: Badin, Sanghar Mohammed Tando Khan, Mirpur Khas ,Nawabshah,etc.
The team personally distributed tons of food stuffs, mosquito nets, bottled water, a dozen of water purification plants and sheltered over 35 thousands displaced families in the UAE tentage located in suitable dry places selected with the cooperation of civil and military authorities present in the districts.
UAE and Friends of Democratic Pakistan
UAE played an important role in the formation of Friends of Democratic Pakistan (FoDP). Initially, UAE hosted many meetings (ministerial & public-private conferences) of FoDP and tried its best to highlight the aim, importance and utility of this forum to the world at large and for the socio-economic development of Pakistan. Time and again, UAE government reaffirmed its support to Pakistan to help overcome its macro-economic difficulties.