Former Pakistan foreign minister hails bonds with UAE

The former foreign minister of Pakistan has reminisced over his country’s admiration for Sheikh Zayed, the late President of the UAE.

ABU DHABI // The former foreign minister of Pakistan has reminisced over his country’s admiration for Sheikh Zayed, the late President and founding father of the UAE.

“He was so much love here that the whole nation mourned over his death as if our own leader passed away,” said Khurshid Mehmud Kasuri.

Pakistan declared three days of official mourning when Sheikh Zayed passed away in 2004.

Pervez Musharraf, president of Pakistan at the time, was one of many world leaders who attended the funeral in Abu Dhabi.

Mr Kasuri said he remembers he was about to leave his office when his staff informed him that Sheikh Zayed had died.

He said he immediately decided to travel to the UAE.

“I have never seen such a huge gathering of world leaders. It showed the kind of respect Sheikh Zayed had around the world,” he said.

Mr Kasuri, who served as foreign minister from November 2002 to November 2007, said that the UAE had proved itself a firm friend of Pakistan.

“Sheikh Zayed often termed both the nations as brothers,” he said. “This affection was mutual. He was perhaps the only world leader who was always loved by the people of Pakistan.

“We are blessed to have such a brotherly country along with us through our good and bad times.”

Mr Kasuri said that Sheikh Khalifa, the President, has followed this legacy and continues to maintain close relations with Pakistan.

He remembered one of his meetings with Sheikh Khalifa when Etisalat was looking to expand its operations into Pakistan.

“He was very warm and very hospitable. And when I talked about the issue with him, he immediately called his core cabinet and things were resolved smoothly,” he said.

akhaishgi@thenational.ae

Published: December 2, 2014 04:00 AM

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