The UAE is home to over 1.6 million Pakistani nationals who constitute about 12.5% of the country’s total population. This makes the Pakistani community the second largest expatriate diaspora in the UAE.
With the continuous efforts of the UAE’s wise leadership, Pakistani nationals have enjoyed a safe, healthy, and prosperous environment with unlimited opportunities and growth prospects in the country. In view of years of friendship between Abu Dhabi and Islamabad, the Pakistani community in the UAE has emerged as a crucial bridge between two brotherly nations in the region.
In recent years, both the UAE and Pakistan have undertaken a number of key steps to protect the rights of the Pakistani workforce in the UAE. In 2019, the two countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to boost cooperation in the labour and human resources sector in the country.
Battle against COVID-19
The Pakistani community has significantly contributed to the growth and development of the UAE with its commitment, dedication, and hard work. During the national efforts against COVID-19, Pakistani doctors and healthcare professionals remained true to their pledge and risked their lives to treat infected patients across various emirates.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, doctors and nurses affiliated with the Pakistan Association in Dubai (PAD) volunteered to protect the health and wellbeing of virus-infected patients infected in the UAE. Under the PAD, the Pakistan Medical Centre (PMC) provided free medical treatment to community members who could not afford the services across all nationalities. The association also distributed crucial food aid, air tickets and necessary medical supplies to thousands of families across various emirates including Dubai, Sharjah, and Ajman.
Expertise and support
The UAE leadership continues to provide its technical and financial expertise as well as support to the Pakistani community working in essential sectors of economy and investment. The UAE has launched various initiatives to boost the growth and capabilities of Pakistani nationals in various businesses and sectors.
The UAE authorities facilitated free COVID-19 testing and vaccination for all nationalities, including the Pakistani community, as part of its endeavours to combat the pandemic. Furthermore, the UAE health sector provided necessary medical care and services to all community members in need.
Last year, the UAE sent tonnes of medical and food supplies to Pakistan with the aim of boosting Islamabad’s efforts to contain the spread of the virus. The aid benefitted thousands of medical professionals in Pakistan in their efforts to treat infected patients and address other health challenges. At the same time, the UAE-based Hope Consortium is in discussions with the Pakistani government to boost the South Asian nation’s immunisation campaign.
In September 2020, the UAE-led Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation sent Dh4 million in urgent aid to provide social and financial assistance to flood-affected individuals and families in southern Pakistan.
UAE’s polio campaign
The UAE Pakistan Assistance Programme (UAE PAP) is ensuring unending efforts to eradicate polio from Pakistan, in line with the commitment of Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan to enhance global cooperation in protecting children globally from polio. Since the launch of the Emirates Polio Campaign in 2014, the UAE authorities have administered more than 508 million polio vaccine doses to over 86 million children around Pakistan.
Environment of coexistence
The UAE government has taken various steps to embrace regional languages of all nationalities living in the country, including Urdu, Hindi, and Tamil, in its educational curriculum and administrative operations. In 2020, the UAE ranked among the top 20 nations worldwide in terms of tolerance and coexistence.
The UAE leadership continues to work in coordination with the Pakistan government to promote the interests of the Pakistani diaspora in the country. As both countries look forward to fostering recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, they join efforts to explore new opportunities and initiatives to benefit all community members.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan recently held telephonic discussions with Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Force to further the bilateral ties between the two countries and diversify their collaboration across key sectors.