Dubai: The Pakistan Association Dubai (PAD) organised an event saluting the leadership of Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan and other great minds who shaped the destiny of nations as part of ‘solidarity celebrations’ to go with events leading up to UAE National Day on December 2.
Friday’s event titled ‘Tribute to the Great Visionaries of the East’ saw school children from a number of Pakistani educational institutions gathered at the Pakistan Education Academy giving speeches about why they felt close to the UAE. Public speaking and essay writing competitions based on the event theme in English and Urdu saw awards being handed out to young participants.
Dubai Cares, the philanthropic organisation run by Dubai government, also took part in the celebrations.
The event also saw tributes being paid to Pakistani poet-philosopher Dr Mohammad Iqbal who envisioned a Muslim Pakistan in colonial India in the mid-20th century.
Dubai Cares CEO Tareq Al Gurg captured the mood of the event. “Both these eminent personalities share a common link — the leadership of their countries. Shaikh Zayed’s actions led him to be known as the ‘Father of the Nation.’ He was a strong believer, having strong faith. Shaikh Zayed said the real asset of any advanced country is its people, especially the educated ones. Dr Iqbal was also a man of great ideas — provocative and profound, he inspired millions of Muslims.”
The UAE and Pakistan enjoy close ties. When the UAE gained independence from Britain in 1971, Pakistan was the first country to officially recognise the new nation. Pakistan also provided initial assistance in establishing a number of defence and aviation services across the emirates.
The UAE has channelled billions of dirhams in investments into Pakistan and has never been found short when relief efforts have been called for during natural disasters or other calamities.
Al Gurg said: “In Pakistan, we [Dubai Cares] have helped build schools and roads in remote areas. In the floods there in 2011, Dubai Cares, in association with a local organisation known as the ITA, helped in projects in four districts, benefiting 70,000 school girls.
“In 2011, Dubai Cares in partnership with [charity group] Oxfam International, raised $1m [around Dh3.67m] at the Dubai International Film Festival for more schools in Pakistan. We will continue to contribute to the growth of Pakistan.”
Pakistan is the only country holding a month-long series of events to commemorate the UAE National Day, said PAD general secretary Faisal Ikram. Friday’s event was the second in the series after the celebrations were officially inaugurated on November 2. Other planned events include a cricket tournament, poetry evening, food festival, bazaar, health awareness project, and solidarity walk.