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National

June 4, 2018

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UAE observes death anniversary of Sheikh Zayed today

DUBAI: The United Arab Emirates (UAE) will celebrate the annual Zayed Humanitarian Work Day on 19th Ramazan today (Monday) which will coincide with the death anniversary of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, the Ruler of Abu Dhabi who died aged 86, was President of the United Arab Emirates and a moderate but visionary leader of his desert people.

This year’s celebrations will witness the launch of important humanitarian and charity initiatives through thousands of government and community events organised by public, private and non-governmental organisations.

Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan was born in 1918, the youngest of four sons of Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, ruler of Abu Dhabi from 1922 to 1926.

Sheikh Zayed prioritised local and international humanitarian and charity issues, and the amount of aid provided by the UAE till the end of 2000, as per his directives, totalled over AED 98 billion in the form of grants, loans and assistance.

Sheikh Zayed was the principal architect of the UAE, the federation of seven emirates formed when the British withdrew from the Gulf in 1971. It became the longest and most successful example of regional integration in modern Arab history.

A distinguished philanthropist, Sheikh Zayed believed oil wealth was a gift from God that should be shared with countries and people in need. The Abu Dhabi Fund for Arab Economic Development was set up to handle aid flows and Sheikh Zayed subsequently directed economic assistance to at least 40 countries.

In Pakistan, Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar are home to three Islamic centres that were established by Sheikh Zayed to promote Islamic and Arab culture among Pakistanis. He also contributed to the paving and widening of the mountain road in Kharan, the construction of Dali Mosque, the digging of water wells, and the launching of schools and houses, according to the UAE official news agency WAM.

Sheikh Zayed donated $500,000 in 1982 to establish the Islamic Chamber for Commerce and Industry in Karachi and provided medical aid, scholarships and urgent assistance to earthquake and flood victims. Sheikh Zayed donated $50,000 after the establishment of the union to support the activities of the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef).

The UAE donated $424,000 to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), $100,000 to Unicef and $54,000 to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

Sheikh Zayed also increased the capital of the Abu Dhabi Fund for Arab Economic Development to $500 million.

In 1974, the UAE provided 10 million Islamic dinars to the Islamic Development Bank and presented an interest-free loan to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) worth $2.4 million. In 1982, the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development supported the Senegal River Basin Organisation with a loan of AED 259 million.

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