Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif begins UAE visit

Pakistani premier said he was looking forward to the trip ‘with a view to deepen the historic and brotherly ties’

Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, Vice President, Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Presidential Court, welcomes Pakistan's Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, at Al Bateen Executive Airport in Abu Dhabi. UAE Presidential Court
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Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday began a working visit to the UAE.

He was greeted at Al Bateen Executive Airport in Abu Dhabi by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, Vice President, Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Presidential Court, state news agency Wam reported.

Mr Sharif was given a military guard of honour after flying into the Emirates on a Pakistan Air Force plane.

“Just arrived in the UAE on a short but important visit,” Mr Sharif posted on X, formerly Twitter, on Thursday.

He said he was “looking forward to a fruitful exchange of views with the UAE leadership” to help boost links between the countries.

Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs had earlier said the visit was aimed at bolstering ties between the friendly nations, particularly in trade and investment.

Mr Sharif was elected prime minister for a second term in March.

He had initially served as premier from April 2022 to August 2023, before giving way to a caretaker government to allow time to prepare for a general election.

Mr Sharif previously met President Sheikh Mohamed in Abu Dhabi in January last year, during his first spell in office.

The UAE is home to more than one million Pakistanis, representing the second largest expatriate community behind India.

Historic alliance

The nations enjoy a long-standing friendship dating back to the birth of the Emirates.

Pakistan was among the first countries to recognise the UAE following its foundation in December 1971.

The country also played an integral role in helping the UAE's aviation dreams take flight.

In 1985, it was Pakistan International Airlines, the country's national carrier, which offered vital support as Dubai sought to get its own flagship airline, Emirates, off the ground.

PIA provided technical and administrative assistance to Emirates and leased two aircraft to the fledgling company, which showed its gratitude by selecting Karachi as the destination for its maiden flight.

The UAE has sought to offer crucial assistance to Pakistan during times of need in recent years.

The Emirates has been a driving force behind efforts to eradicate polio in Pakistan, one of only two countries – along with Afghanistan – where the disease remains endemic.

Under the UAE Pakistan Vaccination Assistance Programme close to half a billion vaccine doses have been delivered in the South-Asian country over the past decade.

The UAE opened up an air bridge to transport humanitarian aid to those affected by deadly flooding in Pakistan in the summer of 2022.

In the same year, the UAE announced plans to invest $1 billion in Pakistani companies in various economic sectors.

Updated: May 23, 2024, 12:33 PM