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Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi held a meeting with the UAE State Minister Reem Al Hashimi on the sidelines of the 47th session of OIC CFM in Niamey. Image Credit: Supplied

Islamabad: Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi exchanged views on several bilateral issues in a meeting with United Arab Emirates (UAE) State Minister Reem Al Hashimi on the sidelines of the 47th session of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) in Niamey, Niger.

Appreciating Qureshi’s statement at the CFM, the Emirati minister lauded Pakistan’s initiative to propose an OIC resolution on combatting Islamophobia. The two sides also exchanged views on OIC matters and stressed the importance of further strengthening it as a united and pivotal platform for the Muslim Ummah, according to the official statement.

During the meeting, the two sides exchanged views on bilateral cooperation, the pandemic situation, Pakistan’s participation in the expo, and other matters of mutual interest.

Pakistan foreign minister also highlighted the difficulties being faced by Pakistani citizens concerning UAE visas during the meeting and “underscored the need to address the issue at the earliest possible.”

At the same time, FM Qureshi stressed Pakistan’s commitment “to forge closer cooperation with UAE in diverse fields” highlighting the close fraternal ties as well as people-to-people contacts between the two countries. The two also “agreed to enhance mutual exchanges to carry forward the process of growing bilateral cooperation” Pakistan Foreign Office statement said.

Visa issues

Last week, Pakistan Foreign Office had confirmed that the UAE had suspended issuance of new visas to Pakistani nationals among others likely due to coronavirus health restrictions. It was later made clear that the suspension did not apply to those with valid visas.

Meanwhile, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis Zulfiqar Bukhari denied the media reports of the UAE is suspending work visas to Pakistanis. Bukhari said that the UAE Minister for Human Resources and Emiratisation Nasser bin Thani Al Hamli had confirmed that “categorically stated that there is no ban on export of Pakistani workforce.”

The UAE was also giving priority to those workers registered on the Virtual Labour Market Database and also encouraging applications for the 10-year golden visa, he added.