UAE Contributions to Social Sector of Pakistan

Mehmood-Ul-Hassan Khan

Right from the beginning UAE has been tremendously contributing to social sector in the country. It has been one of the main characteristics of its foreign policy. Its main focus has been on the wellbeing of common people of Pakistan living in remote areas by assisting education, health, infrastructure (construction of bridges & roads) and the last not the least, water supply and purification diversified but integrated projects. Many small and big projects in social sector going on in different parts of the country are making headway progress.

Most recently, upon the directives of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of UAE, the UAE Project to Assist Pakistan has accomplished 40 state-of-the-art schools and institutions and which handed over to the local authorities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. It is indeed a giant leap in education sector of the province which will hopefully boost the literacy rate too and nearly 21,000 boy and girls have already started their classes.

UAE is our strategic partner and heikh 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 in the times of national crises in different areas of Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochitsan.

UAE Assistance Project to Pakistan has already gathered momentous appreciation from GoP and its people at large. The Project, which focuses on four major sectors, education, public health, roads and bridges, comes within the framework of the good efforts by the UAE to help Arab and Islamic countries as one of the leading donors in the field of humanitarian aid and international development around the world

Abdullah Khalifa Al Ghafli, Director of the Project, Major General Zahir Shah, Commander of the GOC 45th Engineers Division of the Pakistani Armed Forces, a group of Pakistani army commanders and senior government officials were participated in the grand opening ceremony.

Al Ghafli in the presence of the senior officials from armed forces and civil administration unveiled the memorial plaque declaring the official opening of the school and paid great tribute to President Khalifa for his generous contributions in the field of education. It would be value addition and promote qualitative education facilities in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Guests inspected the different sections of the schools and got impressed while looking scientific and computer laboratories, sports facilities and other support services. They also met with the school principal and teaching and administrative staff. Al Ghafli also inaugurated another school for girls and toured its various sections. During the ceremony school bags were distributed to the students as part of the 30,000 “Bag Programme” launched by the Project to assist needy students across Pakistan.

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.

In a interview, Abdullah Al Ghafli, Director of the Project told ” It’s a great honour for us to implement directives and initiatives of UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and complete many humanitarian and developmental projects for the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. The initiative underlines Sheikh Khalifa’s determination to extend assistance to students so as to get learning facilities in an ideal environment he added. The Project has already constructed and renovated 35 schools and colleges, two model schools, 40 primary to secondary schools, 11 technical technological and vocational colleges and institutes in the province.

Construction of two Model Schools in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and South Waziristan with each costing US$500,000 has already been commenced by implementing directives of the UAE President for construction he further added. Educational sector has been under fire and destroyed in the province and due to inadequate school facilities nearby the students had to take long journey to resume their studies but educational facilities provided under UAE Project to Assist Pakistan has had been giving blessings and comforts to them by building numerous schools for boys and girls at their door steps in different parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, South Waziristan and Bajaur, he replied.

He labeled the construction of these schools as a ”remarkable achievement” for the UAE and its wise leadership significantly and efficiently connecting to the development of education infrastructure in Pakistan.

Educators and parents of the students praised the timely UAE humanitarian projects in the province. They were of the opinion that President’s initiatives had bestowed the friendly learning environment to deprived students and provided students, parents and educators satisfaction, comfort and festivity. They were agreed that Sheikh Khalifa’s humanitarian initiatives in education sector would boost human development index in the country. Afterwards, people of Pakistan would be better placed academically, intellectually and culturally they further added. These educational institutions would sharpen Pakistani children skills to face future challenges.

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