Dec 092011

By Muhammad Akram

The Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) has decided to tread cautiously on the path, it chose for itself last month, to bring the PPP-led coalition government to its knees following the emergence of volatile and uncertain political situation in the country in the wake of ‘sudden’ travel abroad of President Asif Ali Zardari, ostensibly on his deteriorating health condition, informed party sources confided to Daily Times on Thursday.

The sources said that PML-N President Nawaz Sharif’s wish for an early recovery of President Zardari was a well-thought move aimed at easing out the tension on the national horizon as rumours are rife of the latter’s feeling tremendous pressure owing to the ‘memogate’ scandal that has reported strained ties between the democratic government and the powerful military establishment. Continue reading »

Dec 092011

Mehmood-Ul-Hassan Khan

Humanitarian assistance is one of the salient features of the UAE foreign policy. According to Global Humanitarian Assistance (2010), the UAE has become the first non-western nation in the global top 10 humanitarian aid donors per head of population. Donations of US$138.9 million in 2009, an average of $30.30 (Dh111.28) per person, put the country in seventh place. The United Arab Emirates has pledged US$7,194,000 for a number of UN development programmes and funds during the year 2012. Ambassador Ahmed Al-Jarman, Permanent Representative of the United Arab Emirates to the United Nations announced this before the United Nations Pledging Conference for Development Activities 2011.

UAE celebrated its 40th National Day on December 2, 2011. During all these years, UAE government, its charities, i.e. Khalifa Bin Zayed Humanitarian Foundation, UAE Red Crescent, UAE Armed Forces, Zayed Foundation for humanitarian and charitable work and Sharja Charitable Society and people achieved new skies of generosity by rigorously initiating diversified humanitarian assistance activities around the globe during 2011.

UAE charities carried forward the golden spirits of generous humanitarian assistance programs in all the continents of the world not confined to Australian flood, New Zealand’s earthquakes, Palestine camps, Libya, Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Thailand, Afghanistan and the last but not the least Pakistan for the help of needy people confronted colossal natural catastrophes. According to Global Humanitarian Assistance (2010), UAE is now the second largest non-DAC donor of humanitarian aid since 2004.

A large number of development projects relating to education, infrastructure, health, clean drinking water have also been carried forward in different parts of the world especially with the help of Abu Dhabi Fund for Development and Dubai Cares. Pakistan, Afghanistan, Egypt, Palestine Authority, Seychelles and the South Pacific were the main recipients of aid during 2011.

UAE is our strategic partner which always stands first to extend generous humanitarian assistance in times of national crises in shape of devastating floods, fatal earthquakes or thunderstorms. Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE is always the first one to respond immediately on the requests of government of Pakistan by advising the UAE charities for relief goods and other related activities. UAE Charities humanitarian assistance programs and gigantic efforts in the relief, rescue, recovery and rehabilitation fields in earthquake of 2004 and also series of floods 2010-2011 have already won the hearts and souls of the struggling local people.

UAE Armed Forces played a magnificent by carrying out grand operations of rescue, distribution of relief goods, and logistics to different parts of Pakistan. Chinooks rigorously participated in the humanitarian assistance activities in the most flood affected regions of Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochitsan. UAE Military Field Hospitals launched effective vaccination campaigns to save children, women and elderly people from different diseases. Water purification plants were also set up to provide clean drinking water in the most flood affected areas.

Most recently, UAE Embassy in Pakistan under the supervision of its ambassador Eissa Abdullah Al Basha Al Noaimi demonstrated strong commitment towards the greater human cause of helping the needy, poor and struggling people of Sindh, currently confronting devastating flood. UAE charities were busy to help the most affected people of Sindh province, Badin, Sanghar Mohammed Tando Khan, Mirpur Khas and Nawabshah battling out their survival.

UAE Ambassdor Noiami appreciated the UAE team carrying out its gracious cause of humanitarian assistance. He assured that existing humanitarian assistance will be continued along with the successfully going on UAE Assistance Project to Pakistan already, gathered momentous appreciation from GOP and its people. He said that UAE relief team activities including distribution of foodstuff have succeeded to lessen some basic problems of the downtrodden people.

On development front, the UAE allocated $100 million dollars to Pakistan for the construction of more than 51 schools (primary & secondary), technical institutions, several healthcare centres, building roads and bridges, infrastructure and supply of safe drinking water schemes. Work on these projects are going briskly and it is hope that after the completion it would generate employment and reduce ratios of poverty in these selected areas of Swat, South Waziristan, other North Western districts and the tribal area.

UAE played extraordinary work to minimize the horrible effects of Horn of Africa largely caused by hunger, poverty and famine through its extended spells of humanitarian assistance activities in African continent. Unlimited precious lives were saved by providing foodstuff, shelter, cloths and medicines. Most recently, According to UAE Red Crescent aid relief contained 84 tonnes of relief materials, including 53 tonnes of canned food and dates, 15 tonnes of emergency tents and 15 tonnes of carpets and floor mats were sent to Somalia and Ethiopia. Another plane was sent to the Republic of Djibouti, carried 93 tonnes of food items and tents, and distribution was done on the Djibouti borders. The UAE Charity Initiative for treating one million children has been launched a massive vaccination programme to protect children in the Horn of Africa against contagious diseases.

UAE Foreign Minister HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan promised a grant of US$250 million for reconstruction projects in Afghanistan. UAE peace troops have been engaged in diversified humanitarian work such as providing aid and medical services for the last eight years. The UAE has also provided over US $ 1.5 billion dollars over the last decade for rehabilitation and reconstruction programmes. There are six funded medical clinics, 11 schools, 38 mosques, a general public library, a hospital, and an accommodation for displaced families. In 2009, the UAE committed more than Dh1.26 billion in aid, which represents 14 per cent of its total foreign aid in 2009. In addition to the government’s provisions, the people of the UAE contributed $22 million for food, medicine, housing and shelter, and basic relief projects.

Dec 092011

Mehmood-Ul-Hassan Khan

H. H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister said on 40th Day National Day that a deliberate and carefully balanced foreign policy, therefore, is necessary to keep the United Arab Emirates (UAE) safe and ensure. UAE foreign policy stands upon three core golden principles envisioned by the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and continued under the presidency of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan: striving for peaceful and friendly relations with all countries, being a good global citizen and responsible member of the international community, and always being ready and willing to help those less fortunate.

Arab world has been facing different gigantic challenges throughout 2011. It has been periods of upheavals and unfriendly heavens, bullets and ballots in most parts of the Arab world. Only few countries succeeded to initiate different effective socio-economic policies to promote political dialogue, cooperation and the resolution of conflicts in the region. UAE has been hub and leader of all these activities in the region, Islamic community and rigorously participated in international affairs.

Most recently, UAE foreign minister clearly sent a strong message to NATO and the West on their air strikes in Pakistan’s mountainous check posts. UAE demanded apology from the NATO with the promise not to repeat it again in the future. UAE appreciated Pakistan role in the war against terror as front line state.

UAE reaffirmed its continued extension of humanitarian assistance to the government and people of Pakistan in the post-flood period. UAE also appealed to international community to support the people of Pakistan in order to alleviate their sufferings caused by the recent deadly flood in the country.

UAE played an important role in the formation of Friends of Democratic Pakistan (FoDP). Initially, UAE pledged $ 300 million. UAE hosted many meetings (ministerial & public-private conference) of FoDP and tried its best to highlight the aim, importance and utility of this forum to the world at large for socio-economic development of Pakistan. Time and again, UAE government reaffirmed its support to Pakistan to overcome its macro-economic difficulties.

In a speech to the United Nations General Assembly in September, the UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs, His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed At Nahyan highlighted UAE highlighted UAE coordinated preventive diplomatic efforts for escalation of tensions and resolution of conflicts occurring in the GCC, MENA and beyond during 2011. Recently, Lieutenant General Sheikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Interior urged to have further bolster cooperation among the GCC security authorities because “the security of the Gulf is the security of the whole world. It emphasized the importance of maritime piracy and stressed the need to have mutual naval cooperation among the GCC states.

UAE stressed the need to have closed cooperation in the fields of security, defence/military, intelligence information sharing, and the last but not the least peaceful nuclear energy cooperation among the GCC states. UAE strongly suggested that the GCC states (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia must get their act together for their collective security umbrella. UAE reaffirmed their commitments to be transparent, open and fair to international regulatory bodies i.e. IAEA for the implementation and execution of their peaceful nuclear energy programs in the region.

United Arab Emirates played remarkable job to bring peace in boiling Egypt and troubling Tunisia. UAE brotherly offered its diplomatic support to restore security, social and economic development and stability in these countries. UAE has been has firm believer in collective line of action. It played an active role in the UN approved air strike campaign to protect civilians in Libya from the widening military crisis among the different factions as well provided generous humanitarian assistance for the war ragged people. Moreover, it was among the first countries to accept the National Transitional Council for the betterment of its struggling people.

UAE rigorously coordinated with Saudi Arabia to bring back peace in Syria in order to stop ongoing socio-politico saga. It tried its levels best to convinced Syrian government for the carrying out of meaningful political dialogue and reforms to fulfill the aspirations of its own people.

UAE along with Saudi Arabia successfully protected the sovereignty of Bahrain by sending troops in its time of national crisis. UAE strongly denounced foreign intervention in the Bahrain and honestly supported dialogue process. It was actively engaged in attempts to negotiate a peaceful resolution of conflicts in Yemen.

UAE reassured its commitments for the progress and prosperity of the people of Iraq through comprehensive national reconciliation without any discrimination. It also reiterated the necessity to respect the territorial integrity, sovereignty, independence of Iraq, and furthermore, safeguarding its Arab and Islamic identity..

UAE supported the efforts of the Lebanese government towards achieving security, stability and national unity and called for respecting the sovereignty of the Lebanese state and for ceasing the repeated Israeli violations of the Lebanese airspace, waters, territories and regional safety in accordance with the Security Council Resolution 1701.

Humanitarian assistance has been one of the salient features of the UAE foreign endeavors 1971. UAE government, charities and its people generously engaged in different humanitarian assistance programs around the globe for lessening the sufferings of most affected people from natural calamities. UAE significantly contributed humanitarian assistance activities in Australian, New Zealand, Palestine, Libya, Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Thailand, Afghanistan and the last but not the least Pakistan. UAE is now the second largest non-DAC donor of humanitarian aid since 2004.

UAE peacekeeping missions brought signs of peace, hope and life to conflict tattered countries in the world. It vigorously extended its effective contributions in peacekeeping operations, protecting civilians, and re-building efforts for states which have just emerged from violent armed conflicts. Bosnia, Somalia, Afghanistan and Sudan are the prime examples. UAE peacekeeping missions has been gained recognition and acknowledgment
from the different peacekeeping organs. In Afghanistan, UAE provided over US $ 1.5 billion dollars over the last decade for rehabilitation and reconstruction programs. It built schools, health clinics, roads, bridges, community centers and mosques.

Foreign Ministers of Gulf Cooperation Council Concluded their 120th ministerial session held in Jeddah under the chairmanship of UAE Foreign Minister HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The joint declaration contained UAE principal position on issues relating to fight against terrorism, relations with Iran, the Iranian nuclear file, the current Arab situation including the Palestinian issue and the Arab-Israeli conflict as well as the Yemeni, Iraqi, Syrian, Libyan, Lebanese, Sudanese, South Sudanese and Somali issues.

During 2011, once again through its rigorous diplomatic efforts, the world at large supported UAE genuine cause and principal stance on its three islands, Abu Musa, Greater and Lesser Tumb occupied by Iran since 1971. UAE is ready to resolve the issue through bilateral negotiations or through referral to the International Court of Justice.

UAE role in Middle East region is highly appreciated. In his speech to United Nations General Assembly in September, the UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs, His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Nahyan showed UAE great concerns at the deteriorating conditions of the Palestinian people. It expressed its full support for the Palestine Authority in its attempt to obtain membership of the United Nations. UAE initiated Arab Peace drive for achieving a peaceful settlement of the Israel-Palestine issue based on the relevant international resolutions that will lead to a just and lasting peace and to the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.

In recently held extraordinary meeting Arab Finance Ministers appreciated UAE initiative of development. They all endorsed the UAE initiative for more economic and financial reforms with the participation of the national, regional and international corporations. Obaid Al Tayer, UAE State Minister for Financial Affairs called for closer economic and banking cooperation within the region for the creation of more employment, sustainable development and social development.

Concluding Remarks

Pragmatic foreign policy played very important role in the socio-economic prosperity of the United Arab Emirates. Its commercial diplomacy opened new markets for greater cooperation and collaboration.