On behalf of the Embassy of Pakistan in Abu Dhabi and the Pakistani community in the UAE, I wish to extend warm felicitations to the leadership and people of the United Arab Emirates on the auspicious occasion of the 45th National Day of the UAE. In the four and a half decades since its founding, the UAE has emerged as a bastion of progress, socioeconomic development and path breaking innovation not only in the region, but also in the world at large. It has made spectacular strides to emerge today as a world class hub for trade, transit and transport, and finance and tourism.

And it has done so, in a manner that has been immensely beneficial to the people not only of the UAE, but of the region at large. Its inclusive progress has had a ripple effect on the progress and development of the entire region. It is no small feat that the UAE today plays a gracious host to one of the largest and most diverse expatriate populations in the world.

All this has been made possible by the visionary leadership of the UAE, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE; His Highness Sheikh Muhammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Muhammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of UAE Armed Forces.

Today, thanks to the sagacious leadership, like Dubai’s iconic Burj Khalifa, the Emirati model of development, tolerance and social harmony, and peaceful co-existence stands tall. It is a model well worth study and emulation.

Pakistan has been among the first, if not the first country to have accorded diplomatic recognition to the UAE. Indeed, people to people contacts, and social and cultural links that bind our two lands together in a special relationship, date back to antiquity. Since that historic day of 2nd December 1971, our ancient kinship has found expression in the establishment of a dynamic partnership between the UAE and Pakistan. The sapling of this friendship was sown by none other than the founder of the UAE, and its first President, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan (Rahima-hu-Allah). Sheikh Zayed had special love in his heart for the people of Pakistan, and this love was reciprocated in full measure. Till this day, this great leader is deeply revered across the length and breadth of Pakistan.

Today, the mutually beneficial UAE-Pakistan ties reflect a kaleidoscope of multi-faceted cooperation. These range from economic and commercial relations to close cooperation in areas of security and defence. The UAE plays host to 1.3 million Pakistanis, and through its Pakistan Assistance Programme, has been a major development partner for the country. On the initiative of His Highness Sheikh Muhammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of UAE Armed Forces, millions of Pakistani children have been inoculated against polio.

On this momentous occasion, as our Emirati brothers and sisters take stock and look to a brilliant future, Pakistanis join them in their joy. We pray for the continued progress and prosperity of the people of the UAE, and for long life and happiness of its leaders. Amen.