INTERVIEW WITH HONORABLE CHIEF MINISTER OF PUNJAB


Mehmood-Ul-Hassan Khan

1. Since beginning of our recent national crisis in shape of flood the UAE has been engaged with us in our efforts of rescue, relief, and recovery. How you evaluate its continued humanitarian assistance?

The People of Pakistan have special respect and regards to H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan President of United Arab Emirates for his generous humanitarian assistance in the time of our national crises. Recent series of floods in Pakistan played havoc to our socio-economic fabric and in response to the appeal of the government of Pakistan; to H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan President of United Arab Emirates ordered for the immediate supplies of relief goods for the flood affected people is highly appreciable.

Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation was the first to send immediate consignment of relief items for the flood affected people of Punjab and it is still continued. The foundation distributed 47,000 ration bags, 6000 mineral water bottles, 7900 tents, 9500 blankets, nans with potatoes 94,000, 5000 water jerry canes, 811 tarpaulins, 28000 cooked food (person), 8 water filtration plants and the last not the least 90 tons dates.

These items were dispatched to six districts of Punjab which are Rahim Yar Khan, Ranjanpur, DG Khan, Muzaffargarh, Bahawalpur and Bhakhar. A large number of military plane loads of items were also sent by UAE Red Crescent. In addition, the UAE also provided three Chinook helicopters to Punjab Government for the integrated rescue, relief and recovery efforts in the flood affected areas. Overall, the UAE Government contributed US$32 million of goods for the flood victims. In this connection, we are grateful to the visionary leadership and people of the UAE for their continued generous humanitarian assistance to the flood inflicted people of Punjab.

The H.H. Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation provided medical facilities for the most vulnerable, which include vaccination of 600,000 children and women. Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Humanitarian and Charity Foundation donated 4 tons of canned food stuff and 11 tons of tarpaulin sheet tents which accommodated 7500 families.

The UAE supported to Sukh Chayan Gatden (Pvt.) Ltd was enough to construct a complete model village at one our most affected areas Mithankot, district Rajanpur. At Basti Miani Mullah, the worst affected village work is going on fast pace to build 135 houses. Out of which 6 houses have been completed. Roof slabs installation 20, Up to roof level 14, up to door level 35, up to DPC level 25, under DPC level 15 and the last but not the least plinth level have been completed which clearly reflect our commitment towards the wellbeing of flood affected people.

Construction is also going on the Community Complex and a Play ground/Park for the children. Four acres of land has been specially purchased at market price for these common facilities for public.

Valuable contributions of the prominent organizations not confined only to Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation, Dr. Sultan bin Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan , UAE Military Relief Force, UAE’s Red Crescent authority and Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Humanitarian and Charity Foundation.

We are also grateful to the National Crisis and Emergency Management Authority and Dubai Islamic Bank for assisting us. The UAE based companies in Pakistan such as the PTCL and Ufone also donated amounts to our relief funds. UAE backed Sukh Chayan Gatden (Pvt.) Ltd is working on housing and shelters for the needy in the flood inflicted areas.

2. What are the secrets of UAE high levels of trade volumes, profitability of service sector, and literacy rates?

The rapid strides made by United Arab Emirates, owed it to highly focused and visionary leadership of the UAE who paid special attention to the socio-economic transformation of its people. Their investment friendly policies have already made the UAE an ideal destination of foreign direct investments and hub of all sorts of trade and commerce activities. The diversification and liberalization in its national economy based on principles of free market economy succeeded to transform sands into stable and sustainable macro-economy.

As a result of the wise leadership of Sheikh Khalifa the government of the UAE has succeeded to tackle the bad multiplier effects of ongoing global economic recession and financial crunch in the country. He introduced many meaningful socio-economic policies and financial reforms and ultimately achieved stability and sustainability in the macro-economy. He followed infrastructure development, introduced strong regulatory mechanism and the last but not the least prologue of structural reforms in the UAE which are now paying the dividends. Under his far-sightedness in investment promotion, regulation and monitoring of credit, immaculate planning mechanism and institutionalization of scientific research, UAE has become most technological driven economy. His economic model transformed the UAE successfully from the stage of gradual labour-intensive to new stage of strong industry. United Arab Emirate has become hub of trade, investments, services sector and tourism.

3. What are the main areas/sectors of mutual cooperation with UAE?

The UAE has emerged among Pakistan’s leading trading partners and a source of home remittances from Pakistani expatriates working in the UAE. Prospects are very bright to extend our mutual cooperation in the fields of energy production, agriculture, dairy farming, food security, livestock, tourism, construction/housing, and the last not the least petroleum products.

4. What is your message to people of UAE on 39th National Day?

We have all along shared very close brotherly and time tested bilateral relations between UAE and Pakistan. On this auspicious day we pray for health, happiness and long life for H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan President of UAE and for greater harmony between the tow countries. We also wish all our brothers and sisters living in the United Arab Emirates a happy and prosperous National Day.

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