ISLAMABAD: Shaikh Mohammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, is expected to arrive in Islamabad on Sunday, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s special assistant on media, Iftikhar Gilani, told Arab News.
PM Khan has visited the United Arab Emirates (UAE) twice after assuming office in August last year. In both the trips, he vowed to strengthen the bilateral ties between the two countries.
Last month on December 21, the UAE announced plans to deposit $3 billion in Pakistan’s central bank to help the country bridge its current account deficit gap.
In October last year, Saudi Arabia agreed to provide Pakistan with a $6 billion economic bailout package -- which includes a $3 billion deposit for its foreign currency reserves and $3 billion in deferred oil payments.
“We are hoping the crown prince’s visit will result in Pakistan getting oil on a deferred payment facility, forex assistance to ease balance of payment's difficulties, preferred investment contracts for UAE firms willing to work in Pakistan and cooperation on exchange of information on Pakistani persons holding assets in the UAE,” Dr Vaqar Ahmed, an economist who is also the joint executive director of a think-tank named Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), told Arab News.
During PM Khan’s visit to the UAE in November, the two countries agreed to chalk out a comprehensive roadmap to accelerate cooperation and partnership in areas specific to the trade, investment, economic development, energy, infrastructure, and agricultural sectors.
PM Khan and Shaikh Mohammad bin Zayed had also decided to hold the next Pakistan-UAE Joint Ministerial Commission, to be co-chaired by the respective Foreign Ministers, in Abu Dhabi, in February next month.
“A new page is being turned between both countries, $3 billion support to new Pakistani government proved to be a lifeline for the incumbent fiscal year,” Qamar Cheema, a strategic and political analyst, told Arab News.
“Pakistan needs to develop strategic partnership with the UAE as it’s too important to be ignored,” Cheema added.