By Akram Malik
ISLAMABAD Aug 19(APP): The United Arab Emirates(UAE) Ambassador to Islamabad Hamad Obaid Alzaabi said on Sunday Pakistan-UAE historical relations and shared vision of their dynamic leadership provided a strong basis for tapping the real potential of their economic relations for the mutual benefit.
“The most important thing is that we have the same vision, ideas as both Pakistan and the UAE are focusing on counter-terrorism and extremism, promotion of health and education” he told APP in an exclusive interview here.
Imran Khan took over as the Prime Minister on Saturday and is gearing up to face the challenges ahead of him.
Both the countries have massive economic potential hence they “have chances for investment and they should encourage their businessmen to invest to help bolster trade between the two sides.”
They should work out a road map to support their businessmen who can utilize the already existing cooperation base in form of the Business Council to find out how to do it, said the envoy who had called on Imran Khan soon after Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf victory in the general election on July 25.
Emphasizing the importance of Pakistan’s stability, he said UAE “supports Pakistan in facing the terrorism challenges and appreciates the efforts of Pakistan in the fight against this menace.”
“The UAE is committed to implement more welfare – development projects with aim to bring prosperity and progress and development in Pakistan,” said the ambassador.
It will continue to work for “more strengthening the economic relations and increasing the bilateral trade volume and encouraging the investment between two countries.”
Referring to his series of meetings to further spike the bilateral trade, the envoy said “the volume of current bilateral trade although is satisfactory but dedicated efforts are needed from both sides to further improve two-way trade.”
The total trade volume between the two countries is around $8.19 billion, which is not reflective of our friendly relations and potential available in the two countries.
“There are immense possibilities and huge potential of joint ventures and cooperation in various sectors, which might be exploited optimally to improve trade,” said.
The UAE has signed a cooperation agreement worth US $ 200 million within the “UAE Pakistan Assistance program” to implement the third phase of the development projects which will be funded by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, said the ambassador. The third phase will focus on health, education and water projects in Baluchistan province. The envoy said it was launched in 2011 on the directions of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces to help Pakistan overcome impact of the devastating flood.
When questioned on EXPO 2020 Dubai with the theme of “Connect Minds and Make the Future,” Obaid said it would be a great opportunity for Pakistan to showcase its potential and products to lure in investors.
He said the UAE appreciated overseas Pakistanis contribution in its development and prosperity. The demand for skilled labor of Pakistan in the UAE market is very high in view of huge opportunities so they can take advantage of these opportunities, he added.
Replying a question on the Gwadar Port, the envoy said, it was not a competing project rather it complements the ports of the UAE and its international shipping. The UAE “supports this project and is keen to cooperate with Pakistan in this field as it will help increase bilateral trade” between the countries. It is worth mentioning that Chinese President Xi Jinping chose the UAE the first destination of his first foreign trip after his re-election as the president of China. During his visit Jinping signed with UAE two agreements related to the Silk Road Project and this was the evidence that the Gwadar port would connect China with the world .
He said there were many development and social projects which is being built with the support of UAE in Gwadar city, including the Water Desalination Project, which foundation was laid in March 2018, and will be built with the support of the United Arab Emirates, the project will be completed within 6 to 8 months, and will provide 4.4 million gallons of water per day to the residents of the Gwadar area with the ability to increase its capacity to 8.8 million gallons of water per day, said the ambassador.