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FM Shah Mahmood Qureshi leaves for three-day UAE trip

Visit comes two days after Emirati ambassador to US said Pakistani and Indian officials had travelled to Dubai for backdoor negotiations

By Mariana Babar
April 17, 2021

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi left for a three-day official visit to the United Arab Emirates on Saturday.

His visit comes two days after Emirati Ambassador to the US Yousef al-Otaiba said Pakistani and Indian officials had travelled to Dubai for backdoor negotiations.

FM Shah Mahmood Qureshi's agenda

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement detailing the FM's plans on the UAE visit.

He will hold talks with the UAE's counterpart on the entire spectrum of bilateral relations and regional situation.

The Foreign Minister will also meet Pakistani community in the Emirate besides interacting with the local and international media.

FM Qureshi will meet his counterpart, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and other UAE dignitaries. Meetings with Pakistani diaspora and interactions with local and international media are also on the FM's agenda.

The MOFA statement confirmed that FM Qureshi will hold consultations with the UAE’s leadership on all areas of bilateral cooperation, including collaboration in trade and investment, job opportunities for Pakistani workforce and the welfare of Pakistani diaspora.

He will also discuss regional and global issues of mutual interest. The UAE is home to the second largest Pakistani community abroad.

Pakistan and the UAE enjoy strong fraternal ties, rooted deep in common faith and shared history and values, the MOFA statement read, adding that high-level visits between the two countries have played a pivotal role in providing further impetus to strengthening bilateral cooperation and collaboration on a wide range of issues.

FO spokesperson on Qureshi's UAE visit

Sources told The News that Qureshi is also expected to travel to Tehran and Turkey.

When Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafiz Chaudhri was asked at a weekly media briefing about Ambassador Otaiba’s statement, he responded: "We wish to get their bilateral ties back to a healthy, functional relationship".

So far, India has made no official comment on Otaiba’s statement. It is expected that apart from focusing on the follow-up of the last meeting between Pakistani and Indian officials in Dubai, Qureshi will also raise the issue of visas for Pakistanis, which have been stopped by the UAE.

The issue was also raised when the foreign minister had earlier visited the UAE and he was assured that the ban would be lifted soon.

“As for the contacts between India and Pakistan, states have ways and means to communicate with other states, which remain available even during wars. As for the role of third parties, we have always maintained that the international community has an important role to play in averting risks to peace and stability in the region and facilitating a just and lasting solution to the Jammu & Kashmir dispute in accordance with the UN Security Council Resolutions and the wishes of the Kashmiri people,” the FO spokesperson had said.