The number of Pakistanis in the UAE is fast growing and has already crossed 1.3 million, which contributes to further strengthening relations between the two countries. In an interview with Khaleej Times, Pakistan’s Ambassador, Asif Durrani said the deeprooted relations between Pakistan and the UAE are based on four main pillars political, defence, culture and economy and these are being further strengthened and cemented by the community members.
“In the political field we have excellent bilateral relations and will always standby the UAE; in defence we have exemplary relations with our contribution in building the UAE Armed Forces; and the cultural relations are so strong that you will be surprised to see many UAE citizens speak Urdu, Pashtu and other languages spoken in Pakistan,” he explained.
“The foundation of the relationship between the two countries was laid by the late Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who was a visionary leader and is still in the hearts of Pakistanis here and back home.
We are lucky his successor the President, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan; His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, VicePresident and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai; and General Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces; are following his legacy,” said the ambassador. The ambassador said that all the Pakistanis in the UAE, including himself,never feel any sense of alienation in the country and always have this feeling of being at home here.
“Pakistanis living or visiting the UAE feel at home in the UAE and visaversa for the UAE nationals visiting Pakistan,” he said. Durrani further praised the UAE for its assistance and financial support whenever there was a natural disaster in Pakistan. “Under its UAEPakistan Assistance Programme (PAP), the UAE contributed close to $300 million after the 2005 earthquake for building houses, hospitals and other infrastructures in the affected areas.
During 2010 and 2011 floods, the UAE assisted Pakistan through this aid programme in housing, health and education sectors. Similarly Gen Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed initiated the polio vaccination programme with a $100 million aid,” he explained
About treaties between the two countries, Durrani said all those signed,including exchange of prisoners and extradition treaties were already in place and implemented.
“We have many treaties and many agreements in place. As brother countries we have best of the relations one can expect and anticipate, so the leadership of the UAE is highly respected in Pakistan and the government of the UAE has always been very generous to Pakistan,” the diplomat said.