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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 December 2018

The UAE is a significant partner to Pakistan and an important source of employment, remittances and investment

On the occasion of Pakistan National Day, Moazzam Ahmad Khan reflects on the special relationship between Pakistan and the UAE

A huge Pakistan flag is displayed in Dubai. Paulo Vecina / The National
A huge Pakistan flag is displayed in Dubai. Paulo Vecina / The National

Today we celebrate Pakistan's 78th National Day with zeal and fervour both at home and abroad. This day reminds us of our journey towards freedom and the ideals of our founding fathers for which thousands of people made unparalleled sacrifices. On this auspicious occasion, I extend my best wishes to all Pakistanis living in the United Arab Emirates.

March 23, 1940, was a landmark day in the history of our country. On this momentous day, the Muslims of the subcontinent resolved to achieve a separate homeland where they could lead their lives with dignity, honour and freedom. Their resolve for an independent country turned into reality within seven years.

In our journey of seven decades as an independent state, we have seen numerous ups and downs. Drawing upon its resilience and strengths, Pakistan has not only successfully weathered the challenges, but also continued to grow and evolve. Today, our national credentials stand strengthened. We have successfully striven to achieve social cohesion as well as economic and political stability. Our valiant armed forces have effectively responded to the challenge of terrorism and have wiped out the forces of evil from our soil.

The development agenda of the Government, coupled with the execution of the Belt and Road Initiative flagship project, the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, has transformed Pakistan’s geostrategic significance into geo-economic strength. The CPEC will act as a catalyst for economic connectivity and integration in Central Asia, South Asia, the Middle East and beyond. No wonder then that PricewaterhouseCoopers has forecast Pakistan to be the 20th largest economy by 2030, and the 16th largest by 2050 at the current GDP growth rate.

The story of Pakistan’s success would remain incomplete if we did not recognise the role overseas Pakistanis have played in the development of the country. These peaceful and law-abiding citizens are not only sending precious remittances back home, but are also contributing to the development of their host country.

The presence of about 1.5 million Pakistanis living in the UAE, is a manifestation of the people oriented relationship between the two countries. From labourers in the factory, to skilled workers, highly educated professionals, institution builders and entrepreneurs, all have made an invaluable contribution to the development of this great country. Through their hard work and honesty, they have not only earned a decent livelihood for their families but also a good name for Pakistan. I urge the Pakistani diaspora in the UAE to continue to work with the same commitment and hard work.

Let us also commemorate one of Pakistan’s great friends and benefactors, who believed in Pakistan, its prospect and promise, stood by it through thick and thin, and contributed to its development. I am referring to Sheikh Zayed, the UAE's Founding Father. His affinity for Pakistan, and the Pakistani nation is part of the lasting legacy of this great man, one that fills every Pakistani’s heart with pride and feelings of loyalty and love for the UAE and its leadership.

The sapling of friendship planted by Sheikh Zayed and successive Pakistani leaders has grown into a tall tree. The UAE has been a significant development partner to Pakistan, and remains an important source of employment, remittances and investment. We are confident that this mutually beneficial relationship will further expand and diversify in the years ahead.

I would like to extend once again my sincere felicitations on this occasion to the Pakistanis living in the UAE and hope that our two peoples, while building on the proud legacy, will continue to strive for progress, prosperity and stability in both countries.

Moazzam Ahmad Khan is ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to the UAE