Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan 7
Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan in a one-on-one meeting with Imran Khan in Islamabad on Sunday. Image Credit: WAM

Islamabad: Pakistan and the UAE entered into new bond of friendship with the notable visit of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, on Sunday, paving the way for regional cooperation.

In an unprecedented welcome ceremony, Pakistan rolled out the red carpet and staged a fly-past salute with JF-17 jets to the visiting dignitary.

Imran Khan welcoming Shaikh Mohammad
Imran Khan welcoming Shaikh Mohammad upon arrival at the airport in Islamabad. Image Credit: WAM

Shaikh Mohammad was also presented with a guard of honour and a 21-gun salute, as a gesture of honour and respect.

Prime Minister Imran Khan received the dignitary upon his arrival and drove him personally to the PM House. The capital city of Islamabad welcomed the guest with huge banners and messages such as “Pakistan-UAE partners in development” and “Zayed in Our Hearts”.

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The Prime Minister of Pakistan held a one-to-one meeting with Shaikh Mohammad, focusing on strengthening bilateral relations between Pakistan and the UAE, as well as regional and international developments.

The two leaders explored various aspects of political, economic, social and developmental relations and the potential of enhancing ties in multiple fields.

Shaikh Mohammad affirmed his keenness to develop cooperation with Pakistan to serve the two country’s common interests.

Guard of Honour
Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan inspects a Guard of Honour at the PM House in Islamabad. Image Credit: WAM

“The UAE, under the leadership of President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, places great importance to strengthening its relations with Pakistan at various levels,” he said.

Shaikh Mohammad expressed his confidence in the development of the UAE-Pakistan relations in all sectors, commending the current level of trade ties and continuous growth. He also lauded both sides’ endeavours to further boost these relations in the future.

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Imran Khan said that Shaikh Zayed has a special place in the heart of every Pakistani and it would remain that way forever.

“There is much evidence of the support provided by Shaikh Zayed to Pakistan at all levels,” he added, reiterating his gratitude for the recent financial support provided by the UAE to the State Bank of Pakistan.

He emphasised the importance of this initiative, which reflects the depth of relations between the two countries.

Shaikh Mohammad was accompanied by a high-level delegation including Shaikh Nahyan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation; Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs; Pilot Staff-Brigadier Shaikh Ahmad Bin Tahnoun Bin Mohammad Al Nahyan, Chairman of the UAE National Service and Reserve Authority and other ministers and officials.

At the conclusion of his one-day visit to Islamabad, Shaikh Mohammad was presented a photo album depicting his engagements during the visit.

The visit of Shaikh Mohammad aims to transform existing Pakistan-UAE special relations into a long-term strategic economic partnership.

This is the third meeting between the leadership of Pakistan and the UAE in less than three months.

Khan visited the UAE twice in 2018 after assuming office to seek economic assistance.

In December, the UAE deposited $3 billion (Dh11 billion) in the State Bank of Pakistan to support the bank’s liquidity and foreign currency reserves. The move is an affirmation of the UAE’s commitment — since the time of the Founding Father Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan — to stand by the Pakistani nation.

The visit underlines both countries’ willingness to support each other, given that Pakistan is going through a transitional phase after the recent general elections.

- Sameed Khalid | Mechanical engineer

UAE has played a great role in Pakistan’s development and Pakistanis who live in the UAE consider it their home. Let’s see what this visit brings forth in the future.

- Aqsa Adil | Law firm intern

Pakistan-UAE ties at a glance

• Pakistan, UAE relations date back to the UAE’s formation in 1971, and have since evolved into wide-ranging cooperation.

• The UAE is Pakistan’s largest trading partner in the Middle East and a major source of investments.

• The UAE is home to more than 1.6 million Pakistani expats who contributes around $4.5 billion annually to the GDP.

• The UAE has served as a home ground for the Pakistan cricket team since 2009.

• Pakistani military has had a notable role in training and equipping the UAE military and its air force.

• The UAE Pakistan Assistance Programme has greatly contributed in education, health, energy and infrastructure development with various development and humanitarian projects.

- With inputs by Wam and Sana Jama, Correspondent in Islamabad