Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan
UAE and Pakistan have still cordial bilateral relations despite some recent uneasiness. Bilateral relations between the two countries are meaningful and productive. UAE is still fully engaged in Pakistan for diversified but integrated development projects.
UAE has had been a major donor as well as supporter of all kinds of assistance to Pakistan in many diversified sectors i.e. social development (education, health, cleaning drinking water, sanitation, infrastructure, housing etc.), economic development (grants, soft loans, development packages to lessen the energy deficit, budgetary deficit and hosting of many investment road-shows and Friends of Pakistan Donor Conferences in Abu Dhabi & Dubai), infrastructural development (the UAE-PAP is the prime example), political support (always appreciate the government of Pakistan front-line role in the war against terrorism, stand with the people of Pakistan in case of any external aggression etc.). UAE Humanitarian assistance has been contributing good results in far flung areas of Pakistan.
i. UAE Project to Assist Pakistan (UAEPAP)
Most recently, under UAE Project to Assist Pakistan (UAEPAP) Cadet College Wana inaugurated in Pakistan’s South Waziristan has been completed. It is the largest educational projects in the South Waziristan region at a cost of US$5.4 million. It is completed in implementation of the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan to provide humanitarian and developmental aid to Pakistan as well as support and enhance its educational sector.
ii. Dubai Cares
During 2015, the Dubai Cares launched ‘Teachers Without Frontiers’ (TWF) a major nationwide programme for Pakistan where the teachers would be imparted training on most sophisticated lines for poor needy students in downtrodden areas.
The Dubai Care was initiated by the Ruler of Dubai and Vice President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Sheikh Muhammad bin Rashid Al-Maktoom in 2007 and has spread to over 38 countries where education and relevant facilities are provided to the neglected segment of society. Dubai Cares worked to improve access of girls to quality primary education by supporting schools and communities in five selected districts of South Punjab and Sindh provinces, they said. The programme was being implemented in partnership with local organizations that have previously demonstrated a strong track record in gender equity and girls’ education. They reminded that Dubai Cares began the implementation of this programme in the wake of the floods that devastated Pakistan in July 2010. As part of this programme, Dubai Cares has reached 70,000 children in 4 districts of South Punjab/Upper Sindh.
It targeted 3,000 children in affected districts of Punjab & Sindh (minimum 20 schools) with essential basic school and educational materials to enable quality learning and built 15 centers for 3,000 children (aged 6 months to 6 years) provided support for health, hygiene, life skills, early childhood development, recreation and nutrition training for mothers and caregivers.
iii. UAE’s Polio Campaign
The UAE immunised millions of Pakistani children with than 44 million polio vaccines in the during the first stage as part of the Emirates Polio Campaign launched under directives from President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan on an initiative by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of UAE Armed Forces.
The UAE Pakistan Assistance Programme (UAE-PAP) said total of 15,278,016 polio vaccine doses were given to Pakistani children aged under five years in March in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, Sindh and the tribal provinces.
The second phase of the “Emirates Polio Campaign” in Pakistan is targeting 17 million children in 53 areas with around 51 million vaccination doses under the slogan, “A Healthy and Bright Future for All”.
iv. Pakistan’s Companies & Trade Agencies
According to the Ministry of Economy, Currently, 7,000 Pakistani companies and 12 trade agencies operate in the UAE. According to Pakistan Embassy UAE (2014-15) the investments of Pakistanis reached to $ 25 billion (Rs.84 billion) in UAE mainly in real estate.
v. Bilateral Trade
UAE’s trade with Pakistan reached $9 billion i.e. Dh33 billion. According to Dubai Land Department (DLD)’s 2013-14 figures, Pakistani investors were third highest buyers among foreigners of property in the emirate’s Dh114 billion transactions last year. In Q1 2014, DLD said Pakistani investors spent around Dh2 billion to buy property in the emirate.
According to the data of SBP and Board of Investment (BOI), the UAE is now the biggest investors in Pakistan. Its collective investment in the country reached to $US 21 billion in 2012-2013. Moreover, in the last decade, UAE merged as the biggest investor in Pakistan. The major proportions of the UAE investments (private & public) came from banking, telecommunication, information technology, ICT, electronics, real estate, agricultural and corporate farming.
vi. UAE Companies
More than 27 UAE companies are now working in Pakistan. These are Telecommunications (Etisalat, Warid, Wateen and U-phone due to which Pakistan experiences the connectivity revolution. UAE banks are also very active (Bank Al Falah under Abu Dhabi Group, Dubai Islamic Bank & Emirates Global Islamic). UAE real estate companies like Emaar Properties Group, Al-Ghurair Giga and Al Habtour Trading Enterprises, Bahria Emirates, DAMAC and Al-Ghuran are game changer, providing the best quality of service and execution.
In the field of Airlines UAE Etihad Airways, Emirates Airlines and FlyDubai has already made international journey a remarkable experience. It has introduced a healthy competition. Etihad Airways and Emirates Airlines are the two most popular airlines in the country.
In insurance sector its Al-Falah Insurance Company, Emirates Investment Group, Takaful Pakistan Limited Insurance industry in the country are important for international exposures.
vii. Workers Remittance
According to State Bank of Pakistan recently published report (April, 2015), overseas Pakistani workers sent home $11.750 billion in eight months (July to February) of the current fiscal year against $10.248 billion during the same period last year. Out of the total $1.391 billion remittances in February 2015, Pakistan received $453.40 million, $316.51 million and $166.26 million from Saudi Arabia, UAE and other Middle Eastern countries. Remittances for UAE stood at $3.109 billion in FY14 against $2.038 billion in FY10.