Dubai: Outgoing Ambassador of Pakistan Moazzam Ahmad Khan has urged the influential community members to support Pakistani schools in the UAE to make them stronger and viable.
“I am thankful to the community for helping me revive the Pakistani schools which were at the verge of closure three years ago when I joined here,” he said.
However, he added, now that he brought them back on track, they need continuous backing and support of the community to help them thrive and expand - as they are the only places to offer education at very affordable cost.
Ambassador Khan was addressing the gathering at a farewell reception on Wednesday, hosted in his honour by the Pakistan Association in Dubai (PAD).
He said that Pakistani schools were in such a bad shape that the local authorities were considering shutting them down. “I took it as challenge and put together resources to put these schools back on track as the future of more than 7000 students in these schools was at stake,” Khan said.
“I am grateful to the local authorities, our community, especially PAD for their support in saving our schools,” he added.
He specifically praised PAD for setting high standards in community service. “I am taking PAD’s constitution with me back to Pakistan as I wanted to share [this] with our missions across the world so that they can emulate this and set up community centres on the same pattern,” he said,
Ambassador Khan said he had served in many countries but his stay in the UAE was the best saying, “I am leaving with heavy heart but very satisfied.” He said the Pakistani community in the UAE is very helpful and forthcoming to take any challenge.
Ambassador Khan is also the first Pakistani diplomat to be conferred the Order of Independence - First Class, by President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in recognition of his efforts during his tenure towards the development and strengthening of friendly relations and cooperation between the two countries across all fields. Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, presented the award at a ceremony held last week in Abu Dhabi.
“My stay in the UAE was mainly focused on improving the bilateral relations. I must say that our focus has moved from brotherly relations between UAE and Pakistan to strategic economic relations as both the countries have signed a number of agreements to improve trade and investment during the last nine months,” Ambassador Khan told Gulf News in an earlier interview.
He said that relations between the UAE and Pakistan have further strengthened since Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has come into power.
He also worked to improve the consular services for increasing number of people visiting the missions. He expanded the facilities, increased the number of counters, renovated the mission building and brought major improvement in the passport renewal services.
“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.
Dr Faisal Ikram, President of Pakistan Association in Dubai said that ambassador was dedicated to serve the community. “We cannot thank him enough for his role in improving the plight of Pakistan schools,” he said, adding that the community would definitely miss him a lot.
Ambassador Khan, who served in the UAE for about three years, will go back to Pakistan on June 24. Taking up new reins back home, he has been now appointed as the Special Secretary at the Pakistan Foreign Office.
He will be replaced by Ghulam Dastgir as the new ambassador to the UAE. Dastgir is currently serving as Pakistan’s Ambassador to Kuwait and he is expected to take charge of his new office next month.