The United Arab Emirates and Pakistan have been sharing bilateral relations and friendly ties across major sectors in the region. As the UAE marked its golden jubilee this year, Islamabad celebrated 50 years of UAE-Pakistan diplomatic relations and exemplary friendship in April 2021. During the occasion, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi visited the UAE to celebrate the historic ties between the two nations and further the endeavors to enhance the friendship.
Abu Dhabi and Islamabad have been working together to strengthen regional cooperation and resolve mutual issues with practicalities and joint actions. Home to the second-largest Pakistani diaspora community in the world, the UAE has emerged as a key partner to the Asian nation across strategic, political, and economic arenas.
Expanding business opportunities
The two countries have launched various initiatives to bolster business opportunities and amplify trade to promote economic development of their communities. The UAE is not only Pakistan’s largest trading partner in the Middle East, it also serves as one of the biggest contributors of foreign direct investment and remittances for the country. As per reports, the two countries engaged in a mammoth US$8.19 billion worth of trade in 2019.
The massive community of 1.6 million Pakistanis in the UAE has played a constructive role in the growth and development of key sectors in the country. The Pakistani community’s relevance in the Gulf state has increased exponentially in recent years in line with their common faith and shared values. Since the launch of the UAE-Pakistan Assistance Programme (UAE-PAP) in 2011, the UAE has intensified its development initiatives to support the Pakistani community in key areas of health, education, and infrastructure.
Furthermore, the Pakistan Business Council in Dubai is a pioneering entity bringing the Pakistani and UAE business communities closer to foster employment opportunities. The council is constantly working towards exploring new, efficient opportunities for Pakistani entrepreneurs and businessmen across leading sectors of the UAE market such as transportation, trade, and construction.
The UAE serves as a prominent investment destination for Islamabad as Pakistanis rank among the top ten investors in the Emirati property market. The approaching Expo 2020 Dubai has presented another opportunity to the growing Pakistani community to reflect on the economic and business ties between Abu Dhabi and Islamabad. The Expo 2020 will expand the horizon for Pakistani business entities to invest and trade with UAE businesses without any hurdles.
Pakistani workers’ community in UAE
Pakistan is among the top five sources of migrant professionals to the UAE. According to the latest Economic Survey of Pakistan, a total of 53,676 Pakistanis emigrated to the UAE for employment in 2020. In addition, over 87 percent of Pakistanis moved to the UAE and Saudi Arabia in 2019 in search of job opportunities.
Pakistani migrants are proactively contributing to the service, business and investment sectors in the UAE to facilitate growth of the country’s economy. They have also received various benefits from a wide range of initiatives and programmes introduced by the leadership for the upliftment and welfare labour in key sectors.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the UAE launched a series of initiatives to support workers in both public and private sectors. With the help of these initiatives, Pakistanis living and working in the UAE generated 19 percent higher remittances at $2.3 billion in January 2021. At a time when the pandemic ravaged global economies, Pakistan witnessed a boom in the inflow of remittances through the UAE and other Gulf nations that helped in stabilising its economy.
The UAE has hailed Pakistan as an essential pillar of joint efforts in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) towards serving the cause of the Islamic world at both regional and international levels. The two countries have expressed cooperation in maintaining regional peace and security in the Arabian Gulf.