Pak, UAE agree to forge ‘strategic economic’ ties

Updated November 19, 2018

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ABU DHABI: Prime Minister Imran Khan meets Sheikh Muhammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, at the Presidential Palace.—INP
ABU DHABI: Prime Minister Imran Khan meets Sheikh Muhammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, at the Presidential Palace.—INP

ISLAMABAD: During his one-day visit to the United Arab Emirates on Sunday, Prime Minister Imran Khan was assured of improved strategic and economic ties with the Gulf nation, but apparently there was no agreement on an immediate financial assistance.

According to media reports, the prime minister was expecting to secure a bailout package similar to the one he got from Saudi Arabia to ease a financial crisis. However, a statement issued by the Prime Minister Office here about Mr Khan’s visit did not mention any monetary assistance from the UAE.

This was the prime minister’s second visit to the Gulf country in as many months.

The official statement said that Prime Minister Khan and Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Muhammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan agreed to transform relations between their two countries into “a long-term strategic economic partnership”.

Imran Khan and Prince Muhammad resolve to combat organised crime, including drug trafficking and money laundering

Pakistan and the UAE agreed to strengthen their cooperation to deal with transnational organised crime, including drug trafficking, money laundering and human trafficking.

Upon his arrival in the UAE, Mr Khan was received by Sheikh Muhammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan himself and later he was accorded a reception at the presidential palace, which was followed by delegation-level talks.

In Dubai, the prime minister was received by Sheikh Muhammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the vice president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai.

During delegation-level talks led by PM Khan and Sheikh Muhammad bin Zayed, the two sides focused on several areas of bilateral, regional, and global interest.

Expressing satisfaction at the positive trajectory in bilateral relations, the two leaders agreed to take immediate steps to further improve the historic partnership, said the statement issued in Islamabad. They resolved to strengthen trade and economic ties and eliminate all impediments to seamless flow of trade and investment between the two countries.

They expressed satisfaction over the fruitful outcome of the visit to Pakistan of a high-level economic delegation of the UAE and reiterated their resolve to transform the existing special relations into a strategic long-term economic partnership by adopting a direct, transparent and time-bound approach.

The two sides agreed to chalk out a comprehensive roadmap to accelerate cooperation and partnership in areas involving trade, investment, economic development, energy, infrastructure and agriculture, with a view to accruing early dividends from the economic partnership.

Prime Minister Khan and Crown Prince Muhammad bin Zayed decided to hold the next Pakistan-UAE Joint Ministerial Commission, to be co-chaired by the two foreign ministers, in Abu Dhabi in February. They reaffirmed their commitment to hold the Bilateral Political Consultations between the foreign ministries and fast track finalisation of pending agreements.

The two leaders expressed satisfaction over the ongoing defence and security cooperation and resolved to explore further collaboration in areas of training, joint exercises and defence production.

They noted that a key element in the partnership was the complete identity of views on issues of regional and global importance.

Mr Khan and the crown prince condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and expressed their resolve to work closely to root out the scourge. The crown prince recognised the efforts and unparalleled sacrifices made by Pakistan to eliminate terrorism and extremism, said the statement.

The prime minister paid rich tribute to the founder and first president of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who was a sincere friend of Pakistan. “The people of Pakistan reciprocated this love and continue to hold Sheikh Zayed and the leadership of the UAE in high esteem,” he said during the meeting.

Mr Khan thanked the leadership and the people of UAE for their continued commitment to Pakistan’s socioeconomic development in the shape of the Pakistan Assistance Programme. He specifically thanked Sheikh Muhammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan for his support to eradicate polio from Pakistan.

Later, the prime minister briefed the UAE leadership about his government’s people-centric reform agenda, including the steps being taken to eliminate corruption and promote transparency and accountability at all levels of government.

He reiterated his government’s readiness to actively participate in the Expo 2020 and extend full support to the UAE in making the mega event a great success.

Acknowledging the contribution made by Pakistani professionals and skilled and unskilled workers in the development of the UAE, the two sides agreed to enhance cooperation on all labour-related issues.

Prime Minister Khan invited Sheikh Muhammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan to visit Pakistan and the UAE prince accepted the invitation.

Mr Khan visited the UAE on the invitation of Sheikh Muhammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who is also the deputy supreme commander of the UAE armed forces.

He was accompanied by a high-level delegation comprising among others Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Finance Minister Asad Umar, Petroleum Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan, Power Minister Omar Ayub Khan, PM’s Adviser on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, PM’s Adviser on Accountability Shahzad Akbar and Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa.

The inclusion in the delegation of Mr Akbar, who is also head of the government’s Assets Recovery Unit, is said to be “meaningful” as he claims to have traced properties of Pakistanis in Dubai worth billions of dollars and engaged the UAE authorities in talks about recovery of wealth stashed in the Gulf emirate.

Published in Dawn, November 19th, 2018