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Outgoing Pakistani Ambassador Moazzam Ahmad Khan (left) and Ghulam Dastgir, new Ambassador to the UAE. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Pakistan has appointed Ghulam Dastgir as the new ambassador to the UAE replacing Moazzam Ahmad Khan, Gulf News can reveal.

Dastgir is currently serving as Pakistan’s Ambassador to Kuwait and he is expected to take charge of his new office in Abu Dhbai by mid of June while the current Ambassador Khan has been posted as special secretary at the Pakistan Foreign Office headquarters in Islamabad.

Khan who served in the UAE for about three years, is deemed as one of the most promising Pakistani envoys to the country as he has been successful in achieving many a milestone during his stay in the UAE.

Speaking to Gulf News, the outgoing Ambassador Khan said that one of the major achievements for him was to fix minimum wages for Pakistani blue-collar workers coming to the UAE. “Now minimum wage for any Pakistani blue-collar worker is Dh800 per month in addition to accommodation and health insurance. Earlier, some companies were exploiting them by even giving them as low as Dh400 per month,” he added.

Ambassador Khan said that he is also in the process of finalising the prisoners’ exchange document with the UAE. The UAE-Pakistan prisoner exchange agreement was first singed in 2012 but not it is being finalised.

Khan said that there are around 2500 Pakistani prisoners in the UAE jails and the prisoners’ exchange programme will help them serve their jail term back home. However, he clarified that they cannot force the prisoners’ to go back to Pakistan to serve their remaining sentence.

“Prisoners or their relatives can contact the embassy or the consulate if they want to be repatriated to complete their remaining jail term back in Pakistan,” he said.

According to the agreement, a person sentenced to more than six months’ imprisonment will have the option of serving the term in his home country.

The move will also allow for prisoner rehabilitation and reintegration into their original society, and allows families to visit their imprisoned relatives.

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Ambassador Khan’s stay in the UAE has been a roller coaster ride but he has been more instrumental during the last nine months since Prime Minister Imran Khan came into power.

“My stay in the UAE was mainly focused on improving bilateral relations especially during the last nine months. I must say that our focus has moved from brotherly relations to economic relations as both the countries have signed a number agreements to improve trade and investment during the last nine months.

He said that bilateral and economic relations got further boost with the visit of High Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to Pakistan and the visits of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to the UAE. These visits were followed by exchange of delegations to talk on defence, security and economic initiatives. “Pakistan is also thankful to the UAE for giving $3billion bailout package,” he said.

Ambassador Khan also worked hard to improve the plight of Pakistani schools which were at the verge of closure three years ago. “I am glad that we are able to revive our schools and save the future of more than 7000 students studying in these community schools,” he added.

Khan also worked on improving the consular services for increasing number of people visiting the missions. He expanded the facilities, increased number of service counters, renovated the mission building and mainly improve the passport and ID card renewal services.

During the amnesty in the UAE to help illegal leave the country without paying fines or rectify their visa status, Khan said that they helped at least 450 destitute persons by providing them air tickets and also renewed passports without any fee.

“There is still room for improvement as the community is growing and I am sure the new ambassador will continue to work on development plans. I am going back home with a lot of satisfaction,” Khan said.

The new Pakistan Ambassador to the UAE

Ghulam Dastgir who is currently serving as Ambassador to Kuwait, will be the new Pakistani envoy to the UAE

Born in 1960, Dastigr holds Master’s Degree in International Relations from Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad.

He Joined Foreign Service of Pakistan in 1986. He has served at Foreign Office as Section Officer (1986-1991), as Director (1996-1998 and 2004-2006), as Director General (2011-12) and (2014-15) and as Additional Secretary (2015).

Diplomatic Assignments:

He has served in different capacities as Third/Second/First Secretary/ Counsellor at Pakistan Missions in Damascus (1991-1995), Singapore (1998-2002), and Nairobi (2002-2004).

He has also served as Director Pakistan at South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Secretariat, Kathmandu (2006-2011).

He has also served as Ambassador of Pakistan to Ethiopia (2012- 2013) and assumed charge as Ambassador of Pakistan to Kuwait on February 11, 2016.