Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has touched down in the United Arab Emirates to offer condolences over the death of its former president Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, state-run PTV reported.

The prime minister made a brief detour to the wealthy Gulf nation on his way back from the United Kingdom after the UAE's ailing president passed away on Friday. The late Sheikh Khalifa’s brother, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, was elected yesterday to succeed him.

According to PTV, PM Shehbaz will today offer condolences to the newly elected President of the UAE, Sheikh Mohamed on the death of the late president.

On Saturday, the Foreign Office released a statement which said the Prime Minister will convey the “profound sympathies and condolences of the leadership, Government and people of Pakistan”.

Read more: PM to address nation on return from UAE, will reveal strategy devised in London meetings: Aurangzeb

Describing the Pakistan-UAE ties as a “close fraternal relationship”, the Foreign Office said under the leadership of Sheikh Khalifa, the relationship between Pakistan and the UAE “scaled new heights”.

“He was a sincere friend of Pakistan,” the statement said. “His invaluable contributions will be long remembered by the Government and the people of Pakistan.”

In solidarity with the brotherly people of UAE, the Pakistan announced a three-day national mourning period from May 13-15, with the national flag at half-mast.

Sheikh Khalifa's bin Zayed's death

Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed died on Friday, the UAE's Ministry of Presidential Affairs announced. He was also ruler of Abu Dhabi emirate.

“The Ministry of Presidential Affairs mourns to the UAE people, Arab and Islamic nations and the world the death of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who passed away on Friday,” the ministry had said in a statement on state media without giving further details.

Read more: Private figure in booming UAE: The late President Sheikh Khalifa

Khalifa, born in 1948, had rarely been seen in public since suffering a stroke in 2014 and his half-brother Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed, known as MBZ, has been the de facto ruler of the US-allied UAE, an Opec oil producer.

“The UAE has lost its righteous son and leader of the 'empowerment phase' and guardian of its blessed journey,” MbZ had said on Twitter, praising Khalifa's wisdom and generosity.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed elected UAE president

The following day (Saturday), Sheikh Mohamed was elected as president. Sheikh Mohamed was elected by the Federal Supreme Council, WAM news agency said, becoming the ruler of the oil-rich country founded by his father in 1971.

Sheikh Mohamed, often known as 'MBZ', met members of the Federal Supreme Council, made up of rulers of the UAE's seven emirates, as the oil-rich country enters a period of mourning for his half-brother Sheikh Khalifa.

His ascension, which was widely expected, formalises his position as leader of the desert state of 10 million after years of calling the shots while Sheikh Khalifa was sidelined by poor health.

Under his low-key direction, the United Arab Emirates has put a man in space, sent a probe to Mars and opened its first nuclear reactor, while using its oil-funded clout to develop a more assertive foreign policy.

PM Shehbaz congratulated Sheikh Mohamed after he was elected as president.

Opinion

Editorial

Police Lines bombing
Updated 31 Jan, 2023

Police Lines bombing

Where the menace of terrorism is concerned, the government and opposition need to close ranks and put up a united front.
Oil price hike
31 Jan, 2023

Oil price hike

THE record single-day increase in petrol prices, preceded by massive currency depreciation, signifies the ...
Babar Azam’s award
31 Jan, 2023

Babar Azam’s award

BABAR Azam might not have lifted many trophies as Pakistan’s all-format captain in the last year but the star...
Blatant Islamophobia
Updated 30 Jan, 2023

Blatant Islamophobia

Muslim extremists and terrorist outfits are emboldened by hateful acts.
Modern slavery
30 Jan, 2023

Modern slavery

MODERN slavery is a wide-ranging term that can encompass a multitude of scenarios. Common to all of them, however, ...
Remarkable Sania
30 Jan, 2023

Remarkable Sania

BRINGING to a close a career in which she smashed stereotypes, Sania Mirza delivered almost the perfect ending in ...