• Emirati president accepts Shehbaz’s invitation to visit Pakistan
• Coordinators appointed for industry, energy

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday spoke to the leadership of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar, and called for enhancing political and economic ties with both states.

According to the Prime Minister Office (PMO), the prime minister telephoned Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the president of the UAE, and conveyed warm greetings to him on the occasion of Eidul Azha. The PM also extended best wishes for the continued progress and prosperity of the people of the UAE.

Reaffirming the fraternal ties between Pakistan and the UAE, the two leaders reiterated their mutual commitment to further expand and diversify special bilateral relations.

The president of the UAE reciprocated the PM’s greetings and extended best wishes to the people of Pakistan on Eid.

PM Sharif also extended an invitation to the Emirati president to visit Pakistan, which Sheikh Mohamed accepted.

The UAE is Pakistan’s largest trading partner in the Middle East and a major source of investments.

Qatari emir

Later, Prime Minister Sharif called Sheikh Tamin Bin Hamad Al Thani, the emir of Qatar, and wished him on Eidul Azha. The PM also conveyed his best wishes to the people of Qatar.

The PMO stated that the Qatari emir reciprocated the greetings and extended best wishes to the people of Pakistan.

Both the leaders expressed satisfaction over the “excellent” state of bilateral relations and resolved to carry forward the robust political and economic cooperation that existed between the two countries. They also agreed to maintain close contact and work together on all issues of common interest.

Debt retirement

Prime Minister Sharif also prayed for retirement of the country’s debts, which were said to be the mother of all economic crises confronting the nation.

According to the PMO, the prime minister felicitated pilgrims on the occasion of Haj, and prayed for the Muslim world and Pakistan.

In his message, Mr Sharif also appealed to the pilgrims to offer special prayers for humanity and seek forgiveness from miseries. He also prayed for the freedom of Palestine and India-held Kashmir and safety of their oppressed people.

The PM also urged the nation to offer special prayers for martyrs.

Appointments

Also on Friday, PM Shehbaz appointed two economists from the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) as his coordinators for economy and energy, and industries and trade.

According to two notifications from the Prime Minister Office that were released to the media, Rana Ihsan Afzal Khan has been appointed PM’s Coordinator on Industry and Trade, while Bilal Azhar Kiani is the new Coordinator on Economy and Energy. Both of them will work on an honorary basis.

Rana Ihsan Afzal Khan is businessman and economist. He is the son of PML-N leader Rana Afzal Khan, who had served as Minister of State for Finance and Economic Affairs in Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s cabinet from December 2017 to May 2018.

According to his details available on his Facebook page, Bilal Azhar Kiyani is an assistant secretary general of the PML-N and a member of the party’s Economic Advisory Council. He has also served as a consultant to the office of the federal minister for finance.

Published in Dawn, July 9th, 2022

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