Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates have been sharing-friendly relations and bilateral ties across all major sectors for over 50 years now. As the UAE marked its golden jubilee this year, the capital celebrated 50 years of exemplary friendship between the two nations. In April 2021, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Pakistan’s foreign minister, visited the emirates to celebrate this historic event.
Home to the second-largest Pakistani community in the world, the UAE has always been a key partner to our country across strategic, geopolitical, and economic arenas. Both countries have launched several initiatives to expand business opportunities and bolster trade to promote economic development. The UAE serves as one of the biggest contributors of foreign direct investment and remittances to Pakistan, as well as, being its largest trading partner in the Middle East. In 2019-20 alone, the 2 nations have engaged in over $9 billion worth of trade with each other.
The 1.6 million large community of Pakistanis in the UAE have played their part in the positive growth and development of the emirates, much in part due to their common faith system and shared community values. Since the launch of the UAE Pakistan Assistance Program in 2011, these ties have further intensified in supporting the impoverished Pakistani communities in areas of health, education, and infrastructure.
Councils such as the Pakistan Business Council located in Dubai have been pioneering entities in bringing both business communities closer together and improving employment numbers. Constant exploration of new and efficient opportunities for entrepreneurs is the main goal of the council and they work in all major sectors particularly, transport, trade, and urban development. It is due to avenues like these that the UAE has become such a renowned investment destination for Pakistanis – the upcoming Expo 2020 in Dubai is set to expand these horizons even further so that more business relations can flourish between Pakistan and UAE without any impediments.
It is widely reported that one in five professionals in the UAE is likely of Pakistani origin and according to the latest economic surveys, more than 55,000 Pakistanis emigrated to UAE for work in 2020 alone. Pakistani ex-pats have always been proactively contributing to the business and investment sectors of the UAE and in return have received numerous benefits from a wide range of programs that cultivate their leadership potential and welfare.
During the Covid-19 pandemic itself, UAE made sure to support Pakistani workers in the public and private sectors by giving out free PCR tests and facilitating healthcare. The Pakistani labor force in the UAE generated $2.3 billion in January 2021, and in a time of unpredictable global trends, this went a long way in helping to stabilize the local economy.
Pakistan has been hailed by the UAE as an integral part of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), both serving the interests of the Islamic world at regional and international levels. Both nations are also constantly advocating for peace and security in the Arabian Gulf.
Byline by Waseem Abbas – Freelance Writer