ISLAMABAD: Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Moha­m­med bin Zayed Al Nahyan will visit Islamabad on Thursday on his way back home after hunting in the countryside.

The crown prince, according to a diplomatic source, has been in Pakistan for the past few days for houbara bustard hunting.

The deputy commissioner of Rahim Yar Khan, Ali Shehzad, told Dawn that the crown prince was in the area along with a Dubai prince for the last five days. He said that on Wednesday the prince left the Abu Dhabi Palace in the area and moved to some other place.

The UAE’s Ambassador to Pakistan, Hamad Obaid Alzaabi, while announcing the Islamabad leg of the crown prince’s Pakistan trip, said it would be a daylong ‘official visit’ for “strengthening the bonds of friendship between the two brotherly countries”.

During his stay in Pakistan, Mr Zayed, who is also the deputy Supreme Commander of the Emirati Armed Forces, would meet Prime Minister Imran Khan and Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa.

In his talks with his Pakistani interlocutors, Mr Alzaabi said, the crown prince would discuss the ways to enhance relations between the two countries and exchange views on matters of mutual interest and regional and global situation.

Mr Zayed last visited Islamabad on Jan 6, 2019 and on that occasion too his trip included hunting expedition.

The UAE had in 2018 extended $3 billion in balance of payments support to stave off an impending economic crisis in Pakistan. A $3.2bn oil facility on deferred payments was also promised on that occasion, but that has not materialised.

Last week, UAE Minister for Tolerance Sheikh Nahayan bin Mabarak Al Nahyan met PM Khan and President Arif Alvi in Islamabad. The talks on that occasion focused on promoting trade, investment, energy, culture and tourism. President Alvi told Mr Mubarak that Pakistan was endeavouring “to further strengthen the existing bilateral engagement at all levels”.

Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan visited Pakistan a fortnight ago while Gen Bajwa too had on Dec 14, travelled to Abu Dhabi.

Published in Dawn, January 2nd, 2020

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