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Sunday June 23, 2024

UAE to invest $10bn in Pakistan

Development comes after PM Shehbaz's meeting with UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed

By Ag App
May 24, 2024
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and President of UAE Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan meet in Abu Dhabi on May 23, 2024. — PID
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and President of UAE Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan meet in Abu Dhabi on May 23, 2024. — PID

ABU DHABI: United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Thursday assured Pakistan his country’s support in all circumstances and made commitment of investing $10 billion in multiple sectors in Pakistan.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif held a bilateral meeting with Sheikh Mohamed in Abu Dhabi during his daylong visit to the Middle Eastern country.

The prime minister was accompanied by the Deputy Prime Minister/ Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar, Minister for Commerce Jam Kamal Khan, Minister for Defence Khawaja Muhammad Asif and Special Assistant to Prime Minister Syed Tariq Fatemi.

Shehbaz offered condolences on the passing away of close family members of Al Nahyan family, late Sheikh Tahnoun bin Mohamed Al Nahyan and late Sheikh Hazza bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

The meeting provided an opportunity to discuss whole gamut of bilateral relations, including cooperation in political, economic, social, cultural and defence sectors. The PM underscored the importance of galvanising existing cooperation and strengthening strategic partnership including in the field of information technology, renewable energy and tourism.

He highlighted steps taken by the government aimed at ensuring socio-economic stability in the country and building investors’ confidence. He reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to ensure meaningful implementation of investment cooperation agreements in the areas of Energy, Port Operations projects, Wastewater Treatment, Food Security, Logistics, Minerals, and Banking & Financial Services.

He conveyed gratitude to the UAE leadership for hosting 1.8 million Pakistani diaspora and highlighted Pakistan’s huge human resource potential that could be engaged in multiple sectors.

Both leaders exchanged views on other issues of mutual interest including regional and global developments. The prime minister reiterated his invitation to the UAE president for an official visit to Pakistan. Sheikh Mohamed accepted the invitation.

Earlier, addressing a roundtable conference on ‘Innovate together: UAE-Pakistan Tech Collaboration’ in Abu Dhabi, PM Shehbaz said that he had broken the begging bowl as no nation had ever achieved prosperity through the begging bowl or aid rather through sacrifice and hard work.

“Gone are the days when I will go to a brotherly country with a begging bowl. I have broken that bowl. The bowl will lead us nowhere. When was the last time that a country prospered through aid and bowls? Only the nations made their mark and left indelible footprints through sacrifice, hard work, sweat and blood,” he said This event was organised by Pakistan Software Houses Association (P@SHA) and Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) in collaboration with the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication and Pakistan’s Embassy in Abu Dhabi.

It was attended by representatives and heads of Information Technology (IT) companies based in the UAE as well as Pakistani IT experts.

The prime minister said that in his scheduled meeting with UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, he would not seek any loan but joint collaboration and joint investments to have mutual benefits for investors.

Explaining the parameters of his government’s programme, he said the Pakistani workers would be imparted the highest standard of vocational training so that they come to the UAE and open their offices, provide remote services and make livelihood.

“I am prepared to take that risk because nothing can be achieved without taking risks. I am ready to move forward in this field,” he told the ceremony which marked the signing of three memorandums of understanding (MOUs) between Pakistani and UAE IT companies to implement digital transformation. He appreciated the UAE president’s vision of taking lead in IT, artificial intelligence and constructing information infrastructure on modern lines to build the national economy which should not be dependent on oil and gas, and making the country a hub of imports and exports.

Lauding the Pakistani IT professionals playing their role in digitising the UAE economy, the premier said, “That is what we need to replicate in Pakistan. Pakistan offers great potential in terms of its population with 60 percent comprising youth aged 15-30 years.”

Highlighting his government’s focus on the promotion of IT and AI in various sectors of the economy like agriculture, mines and minerals, skills and empowering the youth, he said the roundtable conference was the reflection of what could be achieved in the sector.

“We want to transform our economy. I have an iron resolve to completely transform the economy of Pakistan in collaboration with the UAE, be it a joint venture, collaboration or knowledge-sharing partnership.”

Lauding the contribution and efforts of around 1.8 million Pakistani diaspora in the UAE, the prime minister urged them to learn the expertise and experiences of the Emirates to replicate them for Pakistan’s progress and prosperity.

He recalled strong institutional and people-to-people linkages between the two countries.

He said that both countries shared the collective ambition to embrace innovation and progress.

“Together we have to work and march forward and with joint efforts we will be great Ummah. Both will prosper together provided we march in unison, join hands and shun all our concerns and fears,” he remarked.

He also held an interactive discussion with the participants and responded to various comments and suggestions.

He shared the commitment of his government for improving investment ecosystem in digital economy of the country and invited investors to visit Pakistan.

The event concluded with the distribution of mementos amongst the UAE-based clients of Pakistani IT companies in recognition of their contribution and strengthening of business-to-business cooperation.

The event was also attended by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar, Minister for Commerce Jam Kamal Khan, Minister for Defence Khawaja Asif, Minister for Information Attaullah Tarar, Minister of State for IT and Telecom Shaza Fatima Khawaja and SAPM Syed Tariq Fatemi. – APP

Meanwhile, talking to Abu Dhabi Fund for Development Director General oMohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, who called on him here, the prime minister said the government’s business-friendly policies and its support to the foreign investors were yielding positive results in promoting the private sector’s development and attracting foreign investment.

He said the government was taking steps on priority to increase foreign direct investment (FDI) in Pakistan.

In the meeting, the two leaders discussed ways to promote cooperation between Pakistan and the (UAE).

The prime minister highlighted the reforms and actions taken by the government to ensure economic stability in Pakistan. He said the two countries enjoyed brotherly relations that spanned over decades, and thanked the UAE leadership, particularly Sheikh Mohamed, for their support during challenging times.

He expressed the confidence that the bilateral trade relations would further strengthen with increase in cooperation between the companies of the two countries. During the meeting, the prime minister also extended invitation to the delegation of Abu Dhabi Fund for Development to visit Pakistan.

Meanwhile, chairing a special meeting to review the matters related to export of sugar, the prime minister said that hike in sugar prices was not acceptable at any cost, adding that the decision to export additional sugar would be made by Economic Coordination Committee (ECC).

The PM was briefed if crushing was not started the sugar mills would bankrupt. He was told that about 40 sugar mills were about to shut in next season due to financial problems.

He was told that sugar mills paid Rs760 billion out of Rs800 billion to growers of sugar cane in the current season. Mills have yet to pay Rs40 billion to cultivators. If sugar is not exported then sugar mills would not be able to do crushing in November.

The authorities said the country has 1.5 million tons additional sugar. If half a million tons of sugar is exported, Pakistan will get $260 million.

The prime minister directed the ECC to review sugar stock and international market. The mills should assure to provide sugar at ex-factory rate of Rs140 in the whole year.

Meanwhile, the prime minister extended warm wishes to the Buddhists across the world celebrating Vesak festival celebrated on Thursday.

Vesak, the Day of the Full Moon in the month of May, is the most sacred day to millions of Buddhists around the world. Besides being the birthday of Buddha two and a half millennia ago, it also marks Buddha’s attainment as well as his death.

“May this day bring peace, prosperity, and harmony to all. Let’s celebrate our shared heritage and continue working towards mutual respect and understanding,” the prime minister wrote on his X timeline.

Earlier on Wednesday, the prime minister engaged in a series of meetings with world leaders at the memorial ceremony of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his companions, and discussed the ways to fortify bilateral relations and foster cooperation.

Raisi, along with Foreign Minister Amir Abdollahian and others embraced martyrdom in a tragic helicopter crash in the Eastern Azerbaijan province of Iran on May 19, 2024.

The prime minister met with Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon wherein both leaders delved into avenues for bolstering the already robust ties between their nations.

Similarly, the meeting between Shehbaz and his Azerbaijani counterpart Ali Asadov focused on the avenues to deepen collaboration between their countries.

The prime minister also extended his good wishes for Azerbaijan to host the 29th UN Climate Change Conference (COP 29) in Baku this year.

Shehbaz also interacted with the Emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and discussed the Pakistan-Qatar bilateral relations and other matters of mutual interest.

During his separate meetings with Turkish Vice President Cevdet Yilmaz and Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan, the prime minister, besides exchanging views on bilateral relations, reiterated his invitation to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to visit Pakistan.

Moreover, he also met with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the former Iranian president and now a member of the Expediency Discernment Council. —APP/ Online

Nisar Abbas Sadpara adds from Skardu: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has constituted a high-level committee to present recommendations for resolving the long-standing issues of Gilgit-Baltistan.

The committee, comprising nine members, would be chaired by Minister for Finance & Revenue Muhammad Aurangzeb, while other members are Minister for Power Division Awais Leghari, Minister for Water Resources Musadik Malik, Minister for Kashmir Affairs & Gilgit Baltistan Amir Muqam, the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs & Gilgit Baltistan secretary, GB Minister for Finance Mohammad Ismail, GB Minister for Agriculture Mohammad Anwar, GB BoI Chairman Fateullah Khan and GB the chief secretary.

The committee’s terms of reference include firming up recommendations on financial matters, net hydel profits, establishment of new districts, electricity crisis, and wheat subsidy.

The committee would submit its report to the prime minister within 30 days, providing a comprehensive roadmap for addressing the issues faced by the people of Gilgit-Baltistan.

GB Chief Minister Haji Gulbar Khan has welcomed the constitution of the committee, expressing his gratitude to PM Shehbaz.

This committee constitutes a significant step towards addressing the issues of Gilgit-Baltistan and ensuring the region’s economic and social development. The people of Gilgit-Baltistan have long been facing challenges related to financial matters, electricity crisis, and wheat subsidy, and this committee provides a ray of hope for resolving these issues.

However, the political activists in Gilgit-Baltistan have rejected the committee and demanded for the cancellations of all leases issued to green tourism and other individuals. The nationalist leaders demanded for constitutional assembly and financial autonomy.