Pakistan President Arif Alvi has said the country’s pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai represents the nation's “beauty and reality”.
He arrived in the Emirates on Saturday for a two-day visit to inaugurate the pavilion and to meet UAE leaders and dignitaries.
Mr Alvi met Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, at the Expo site, where the two leaders discussed boosting bilateral ties.
Later in the evening, a large crowd gathered outside the pavilion to see Mr Alvi, who briefly spoke to the media after a tour of the structure.
“It’s better than what I had expected. Before it was just showing photos of other countries, but now there’s an immersive experience, with projections and arts and crafts. Many artists have been involved in this,” Mr Alvi said.
“This has shown the beauty and reality of Pakistan and that’s what the country needs right now. The pavilion shows Pakistan’s history, where 7,000 years ago a city was built with a water supply.
“To show that here, how civilisation was built and the stories of the people then, the crafts built by hand, is really impressive. It shows the artists have worked really hard.”
Thousands of people have already visited the pavilion, which covers 3,251 square metres in the Opportunity District.
The pavilion's theme – The Hidden Treasure – is intended to boost tourism, commerce and investment in Pakistan.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has placed a huge focus on increasing tourism, in hopes that it will become a major contributor to Pakistan's economy.
“We hope that people visit Pakistan. People who haven’t been to our country would be very happy to see what the pavilion has to offer,” Mr Alvi said.
“The pavilion shows love and hard work. It projects the passion the artists have for their country. We are already very proud of Pakistan, but seeing our beauty on display in another country is really great.”
Thousands of colourful glass units make up the pavilion's facade and help attract visitors inside.
One of the main highlights is the "inner journey" that shows off Pakistan’s archaeological treasures, handicrafts, natural resources, tourist sites, food, culture, music and art.
A virtual experience will show visitors Pakistan’s artisan traditions, landscapes and culture.
An immersive show illustrates the South Asian country’s goal of planting a billion trees by 2023 – a project that Mr Khan has been following closely.
Folk dancers also attract large crowds outside the pavilion each evening. For the next few weeks, dancers from Balochistan – one of the four provinces of Pakistan – will perform.
Performers from other parts of Pakistan will later show off folk dancing from Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit and Kashmir.