The bilateral relations between the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan have acquired new dimensions at all political, economic and social levels emerging into trust-worthy strategic partnership and are still continuing. Right from the beginning, the UAE has extended generous humanitarian assistance, support for better health and education to Pakistan whenever required. UAE which has become hub of investments, exports, technologies, tourism and renewable energies and large number of Pakistanis are contributing in the UAE’s economic boom. In Pakistan, UAE surely has encouraged investment and helps in greater trade and commerce activities. UAE is one of largest investors in Pakistan but bilateral trade has been steadily growing over years and people-to-people contacts are constantly on increase.
The founder of UAE Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan was keen to give an impetus to the bilateral relations between the two countries from the very beginning. It was further strengthened and patronized by H.H. Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of the UAE and H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, Vice-President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. Both countries reaffirm their strong commitment to further reinforce the bonds of friendship. They urge the need to expand the horizon of their bilateral cooperation in diverse fields reflecting deep-rooted and historic ties. Pakistan offers vast opportunities for foreign direct investments and joint ventures in infrastructure development, electricity generation, water desalination, agricultural based industries, insurance and real estate.
Apart from trade and economic relations, Pakistan UAE military ties are time tested. The Pakistani military has a historic role in helping to train and equip the UAE military, such as training fighter pilots of the UAE air force and other defence related equipment and technology acquisitions. Apart from exchange of delegates at official and unofficial level, military conducts joint exercises to strengthen their capabilities. High level military delegates from both sides visit time to time to boost their military associations. Recently Pak Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa visited UAE to discuss military ties between both the countries.
Chief of the Army Staff Qamar Javed Bajwa met United Arab Emirates’ Vice-President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai Shaikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum at the Zabeel Palace in Dubai and discussed relations between Pakistan and UAE and a number of issues pertaining to the military and the current situation in the region. The army chief praised the development witnessed by the UAE in different fields. The Pakistan army chief’s visit to the UAE was very critical for the relations between Pakistan and the UAE and many defence analysts said that the Pakistan army chief’s visit is to counter the Indian influence on Middle East. Pakistanis had been witnessing some critical issues relating to the visa of Arab countries not only ordinary visitors but also diplomatic officials think that General Bajwa’s visit would help reduce stress and anxiety among Pakistan and Arab countries.
It is observed that many critics and adversaries are adamant to prove that Pak UAE ties are no more fostering. Earlier when in Afghanistan, attack on UAE consulate was carried out in January, 2017Afghanistan blamed Pakistan for this suicide attack and viewed that UAE should rethink about its relations with Pakistan. It was quite noticeable that Afghan Taliban took responsibility for this attack but Kandahar Police Chief Abdul Raziq claimed in front of media categorically that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence and the Haqqani Network were behind the incident. Such accusations proved wrong and no links of Pakistan’s involvement was found. Now after General Bajwa’s visit to UAE some negative trends on social media are also gaining attention just to malign relations between both the states.
On twitter account of Mr. Dhahi Khalfan who is Ex-Dubai Police Chief and is presently serving as Advisor to Sheikh Mohammad, Ruler of Dubai on security related issues had tweeted in support of independent Balochistan again. Earlier in Nov 2015 he conducted a survey on social media to seek people opinion about independent Balochistan or do they favour or support this cause or not.Again after visit of Pak Army Chief to UAE these tweets are republished and were shared by different people from different accounts to undermine Pakistan and UAE relations. The trend started on social media after visit of Pakistan Chief of Army Staff to UAE who was well received by UAE’s rulers and was highly appreciated by Emirates population and Pakistani community. Soon after visit, the campaign on social media started to destabilise Pak-UAE relations but those who are involved in negative campaigns and propaganda must remember that both countries are clear about their associations with each other.
The UAE has always been among the first countries to deliver humanitarian relief and assistance to Pakistan in times of need. In 2011, it launched the Pakistan Assistance Programme for building schools, colleges and hospitals in Pakistan. Simultaneously, entrepreneurs from Pakistan are warmly welcomed in the UAE, with many of them flourishing in the country’s favourable business environment. Lately on this March 23, the tallest skyscraper in the world, Burj Khalifa was brightened up with the colours of the Pakistani flag to celebrate the Pakistan Day which depicts relations between both states.
Recently, Abu Dhabi Fund for Development funded the UAE-Pakistan Friendship Road, linking North and South Waziristan. The assistance from UAE is in return nurtured with Pakistan’s commitment to relationship which particularly has enhanced in last few years. So those who are trying their energies for spoiling both countries connexions must keep in mind that they will not to able to successful as mature leadership understand their duties and dynamics of alliance between them.
— The writer works for Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies, a think-tank based in Islamabad.