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UAE, Pakistan celebrate 50 years of exemplary relations

Waheed Abbas


Last updated on April 18, 2021 at 09.49 pm
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Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Sunday said he will discuss the issue of visas faced by Pakistani nationals during his meeting with senior officials.

With the UAE is marking its 50th anniversary this year, Pakistan foreign minister’s visit is also part of celebrations to mark 50 years of UAE-Pakistan friendship and diplomatic relations. The UAE is home to the second-largest Pakistani community abroad.

Qureshi arrived in Dubai on Saturday on a three-day visit to the UAE to discuss bilateral and regional issues. He will also meet senior UAE officials including Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

“I discussed the visa issue during my last UAE visit in December 2020, and I must admit that there has been an improvement with certain concessions made and families are being allowed in. But work visa is still a challenge, especially for the younger lot. We will talk about it in my meeting with the UAE officials tomorrow,” Qureshi told Khaleej Times in an exclusive interview on Sunday.

“UAE and Pakistan ties are historic. We have a large diaspora here and their contribution toward the UAE’s socio-economic development is recognised,” he said.

Qureshi also visited the Dubai Expo 2020 site as well as the Pakistani pavilion on the second day of his visit on Sunday. He was accompanied by Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UAE Afzal Mahmood, Consul-General Ahmed Amjad Ali and other senior embassy officials.

The foreign minister stated that the presence of the Pakistani pavilion at the Expo is a manifestation of the decades-long friendship between Pakistan and UAE. “I am happy that millions of Pakistanis living in UAE are playing a constructive role in the development of the UAE. Pakistan’s participation in the Expo 2020 is a reflection of our growing bilateral economic ties,” he said.

Qureshi revealed that Pakistan plans to roll out a major event around the UAE’s National Day in December and to coincide with the Expo 2020 Dubai.

“Pakistan embassy will play a role in the event which will showcase hidden treasures of the country. In the UAE, Pakistani professionals are invited to play a role in this event. The mega event will pay tribute to the UAE’s overseas community,” Qureshi said during a media briefing in Dubai on Sunday.

He said the government is trying that overseas Pakistanis get the right to vote. “If overseas Pakistanis want to play a role, they should get a chance so that they can play a role in policy as they’re important stakeholders,” he added.

He pointed out that the government will focus on economic stability that leads to economic and job creation and poverty alleviation in the country for the remaining two years in power.

Sharif passport renewal

Replying to a question about the return of former Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif from London and the renewal of his Pakistani passport, Qureshi said that if the former prime minister is willing to come back, the government will renew his passport.

“Sharif went abroad after an undertaking that he is very unwell and there was a lot of hoo-haw created that he was in dire straits and his brother gave an affidavit to the courts of Pakistan. What we see today is that he is in a good health and making statements, addressing conferences through video link. It seems he is fit enough to live a normal life. If then why is he not coming back to face the cases in open trials? If they give us assurance that he will come back, I will give him the assurance of giving him the passport,” he said, adding that extradition is an option, but it is a long tedious process.

waheedabbas@khaleejtimes.com