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The colours of the façade of the Pakistan Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai are symbolic of Pakistan's diverse seasons. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The Pakistan Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, built at a cost of around Dh110.2 million (around $30 million), is primed to take visitors on a voyage through time while featuring ‘hidden treasures’ of the country.

Afzaal Mahmood, Ambassador of Pakistan to the UAE, said: “Pakistan pavilion is now ready under the theme ‘Pakistan: The Hidden Treasure’ with an aim to enhance country’s tourism, commerce and investment.”

Ambassador Mahmood told Gulf News in an exclusive interview in Dubai that Expo 2020 Dubai (which begins on October 1) will have the largest-ever pavilion of Pakistan constructed outside of the country. “It will showcase the enormous treasures in tourism, commerce and investment that are waiting to be discovered and benefited by the world,” he said, adding that Pakistan would present itself as a “land of opportunities” for commerce and investment.

“Visitors will be taken on a voyage through time, from the world’s first-recorded civilisations to the fast-paced digital era which include virtual experiences of our breathtaking landscapes, cultural and religious diversity, rich artisan traditions, and strong economic potentials,” he added.

He said 180 events have been lined up for the six-month expo, showcasing Pakistan’s art and culture, heritage, education and tourism. The events will also include conferences, seminars and meetings for business and investment. The pavilion, he added, would serve as a hub of business opportunities, allowing the Pakistani business community to network with international markets and investors.

Role of Pakistani expats

Ambassador Mahmood said he has been engaging with the Pakistani community in the UAE since he took office in January 2021. “I have been trying to reach out to different community segments across the UAE, including the Pakistani organisations in different emirates and the business community to involve them with Expo 2020 activities. I have been trying to get their suggestions, and a lot of their valuable input has gone into planning the Pakistan Pavilion. Some of them were also featured in the promotional video prepared to promote the Pakistan Pavilion.”

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Afzaal Mahmood, Ambassador of Pakistan to the UAE, said valuable inputs from the Pakistani community in the UAE have supported the pavilion's planning. Image Credit: Supplied

He also urged the community members to participate and attend the Pakistan Pavilion’s events that will be held not only within the expo site but also in different parts of Dubai. “We will bring all possible events to promote our country. We will have cultural events, road show, talk shows, workshops in addition to business meetings while the big companies would be showcasing their potential,” the ambassador added.

Monthly themes

Pakistan’s four provinces and two regions will be featured during the six-month expo. Each of the six months have been dedicated to a province or a region, starting with Balochistan in October, showcasing its culture, people, foods and investment opportunities. Ambassador Mahmood said the pavilion would be ready well before Expo 2020 Dubai begins on October 1. “It is going to be a virtual experience for visitors as the pavilion has been divided into eight key spaces where visitors will experience Pakistan’s best-kept hidden treasures,” he added.

The pavilion

Pakistan Pavilion, located in Opportunity District of Expo 2020 Dubai, cost around $30 million (around Dh110.2 million) to build - a stunning structure on a plot of 35,000 square feet. Expo 2020 Dubai will be held from October 1, 2021 to March 21, 2022 under the theme of ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’.

Pakistan Pavilion also have an another attraction called ‘The Bazaar’, where visitors can purchase memorabilia of Pakistan. For food lovers, Pakistani foods and drinks will be served at a traditional restaurant called ‘The Dhabba’.

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Visitors to the pavilion can also enjoy Pakistani cuisine at the onsite restaurant called 'Dhaaba'. Image Credit: Supplied

What to expect

Once you walk in the Pakistan Pavilion, it will offer a digitally-engaging experience of Pakistan, starting from “the world’s earliest recorded civilisation” dating back 7,000 years. During the 30 minutes of the walk-through experience, visitors will see the hidden treasures most people never knew were in Pakistan — be it in tourism, culture, commerce or investment.

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The pavilion will also bring popular Pakistani celebrities from various fields including sports, music, film and television to meet and greet visitors. All the programmes and events will be highlighted on the pavilion’s social media platforms.