Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan
File image from 2019: Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan attends a welcoming ceremony next to Imran Khan (right) at the Prime Minister House in Islamabad in 2019. Image Credit: AFP

Islamabad: His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, will be arriving in Islamabad on Thursday (January 2) for a daylong official visit.

The visit of the UAE leader aims to “further strengthen the bonds of friendship between the two brotherly countries” according to a statement by the UAE Ambassador to Pakistan, Hamad Obaid Ibrahim Alzaabi.

During the visit, the crown prince is expected to hold a meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to discuss the possibilities of closer understanding between the two countries as well as to exchange views on “matters of mutual interest and regional and global situation”. The UAE crown prince last visited Pakistan on January 6 in 2019.

The UAE leader’s visit is part of the developing exchanges between Pakistan and the Arab world. Pakistan’s PM Imran Khan has held four one-on-one interactions with the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi since assuming office in August 2018. Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Bajwa also travelled to Abu Dhabi on December 14 and held a meeting with Abu Dhabi crown prince to review regional security and matters of common interest.

Pakistan and UAE enjoy close cordial relations and have greatly contributed to development in both countries. In his December 3 article published in Gulf News, UAE Ambassador Hamad Obaid Alzaabi noted that “Pakistanis remain the pivotal contributors in the development of UAE” whereas the “UAE remains committed to assist Pakistan in its economic stability and human development.” The founding father of the UAE Late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan always considered Pakistan as his second home, which depicts the deep cultural roots that connect the two countries, he recalled.

The visit takes place days after Emirati Minister for Tolerance, Sheikh Nahayan Bin Mabarak Al Nahayan, met Pakistani premier and President in Islamabad to discuss expansion of bilateral ties in all fields including trade, investment, energy, culture and tourism.

The UAE leader’s visit comes in the backdrop of Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud’s visit on December 26 during which he extended Riyadh’s support to Pakistan’s core national interests.