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An image of the national flag of Pakistan created on Burj Khalifa in Dubai on the occasion of Pakistan Day on Tuesday. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: While hailing the role of overseas Pakistanis in the development of their country, a top diplomat has appealed to the expatriate community to demonstrate utmost responsibility and commitment towards development of the UAE.

Speaking at the flag hoisting ceremony held at the Pakistan Embassy in Abu Dhabi to mark the 81st Pakistan Day on March 23, Ambassador Afzaal Mahmood said that the Pakistan government recognises with deepest gratitutde the contribution made by the overseas Pakistanis toward progress of their country. “The government of Pakistan is also fast tracking socio-economic development to ensure wellbeing of our people,” he added.

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No community gatherings

This year, Pakistan Day flag hoisting ceremonies at the diplomatic missions in Abu Dhabi and Dubai were not opened to the community members in line with the COVID-19 safety guidelines. Messages of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Dr Arif Alvi were also read on the occasion.

Ambassador Mahmood hoisted the flag in the presence of embassy staff and diplomats, and especially thanked the UAE leadership for standing by his country in difficult time and contributing to its development.

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Pakistan Ambassador Afzaal Mahmood speaking at a ceremony held at the Embassy in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday to mark Pakistan National Day. Image Credit: Supplied

Bridging the gap

He said that the diplomatic team at the Embassy is ready to work closely with the community to promote their country’s interests. “We consider Overseas Pakistanis a bridge between our two brotherly countries. We encourage them to educate both sides on the potential for joint trade, investment and tourism opportunities, which can be explored and exploited in our mutual interest. On the government’s part, we would continue to intensify cooperation with the UAE through closer government-to-government and people-to-people contacts,” he added.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Consul General Ahmed Amjad Ali unfurled his country’s flag at a separate ceremony at the Consulate in Dubai.

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Pakistan Consul General Ahmed Amjad Ali unfurls the flag to mark the Pakistan National Day in Dubai in the presence of the consulate officials. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Role of expats

Speaking on the occasion, Consul General Ali said urged the community members to follow COVID-19 guidelines issued by the UAE government. He also hailed the role played by the Pakistani expatriates in the UAE during COVID-19 restrictions. “Let me take this opportunity to express appreciation to the role and contribution of overseas Pakistanis in prosperity and progress of Pakistan. Almost 1.6 million Pakistanis live in UAE, making them the second largest expatriate community outside Pakistan. They have contributed immensely through their dedication, hard work and commitment to the development of Pakistan and the UAE,” he added.

Pakistan Day significance

Elaborating on the significance of Pakistan Day, Consul General Ali said: “Today marks the 81st Pakistan Day. It was on this historic day that Muslims of the sub-continent under visionary leadership of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah adopted the ‘Pakistan Resolution’ at Lahore on March 23, 1940. Through this resolution, the Muslims of the subcontinent expressed unwavering resolve to carve out a separate homeland for themselves wherein they could lead their lives in peace and harmony. Today, we pay tribute to our forefathers for their struggles and sacrifices in creation of our beautiful homeland.”

He also assured that Pakistan Consulate General in Dubai would continue to work for the good of the community.