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January 14, 2017

UAE to rethink ties with Pakistan after killing of five diplomats

Top Story

January 14, 2017

DUBAI: The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is reported to be seriously having a rethink of its relations with Pakistan after the killing of its five diplomats and six senior Afghan officials in a terror attack inside the Kandahar governor’s compound on January 10. 

Tuesday’s blast in Kandahar was one among three terror attacks that took place in Afghanistan, all on the same day. The other two attacks, in Kabul and Herat, resulted in the death of 38 and 11 people respectively. Interestingly, the Afghan Taliban took responsibility for the Kabul and Herat attacks, but denied having any role in the Kandahar incident, blaming it instead on what they called “internal local rivalry”. 

A UAE delegation, led by Ambassador Juma Mohammad Abdullah Al Kaavi, was in a meeting with Kandahar Governor Humayun Azizi when the bomb, suspected to have been hidden in a sofa, detonated. 

Kandahar Police Chief Abdul Raziq, however, told the media categorically that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the Haqqani Network were behind the incident. 

Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rasheed Al Maktum, prime minister of the UAE and Dubai’s ruler, while offering condolences to the families of the dead, said, “There is no human, moral or religious justification for the bombing and killing of people trying to help others.” This was the first time UAE nationals were targeted inside Afghanistan.

The UAE has always been among the first countries to deliver humanitarian relief and assistance to Pakistan in times of need. In 2011, it launched the Pakistan Assistance Programme for building schools, colleges, hospitals, etc in Pakistan. Simultaneously, entrepreneurs from Pakistan are warmly welcomed in the UAE, with many of them having prospered in the country’s favourable business environment. Recently, the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development funded the UAE-Pakistan Friendship Road, linking North and South Waziristan.

The list is long. In return, Pakistan’s commitment to the relationship has been less forthcoming, especially in the last few years. In 2013, the UAE government was taken aback when Pakistan did not support Dubai’s bid to host the EXPO 2020 in spite of receiving official assurances to this effect from Islamabad. In 2015, Pakistan refused to join Saudi-led operations in Yemen.

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