ISLAMABAD - United Arab Emirates on Sunday delivered a $6.2 billion package to Pakistan amid Islamabad’s efforts to come out of the economic crisis.

Pakistan rolled out red carpet for UAE Crown Prince Sheikh Muhammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan as he arrived for a brief but meaningful visit.

Prime Minister Imran Khan himself received the crown prince at the Nur Khan Airbase and then drove him to the PM’s House. He was given 21 guns salute and a fly-past of JF-17 Thunders.

Officials said that all relevant terms and conditions had been finalised for the UAE to induct $3 billion cash into the economy of Pakistan and another $3.2 billion worth of oil supplies on deferred payments for one year.

“The $3.2 billion for oil supplies on deferred payments has also been made available. There will be a formal announcement soon,” an official privy to the meetings told The Nation.

Pakistan, he said, was a big buyer of petroleum products from UAE and the package would help Pakistan to recover from the crisis-position.

Information Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said the UAE would also build an oil refinery in Pakistan, and talks for the huge investment had been finalised during the visit of the crown prince .

Prince Al-Nahyan, who is also deputy chief of the UAE’s armed forces, held a one-on-one meeting with PM Khan wherein the two expressed their determination to further strengthen this historic and mutually beneficial relationship.

They held wide ranging talks focusing on all areas of bilateral relations and expressed satisfaction at the level of cooperation in defence and other fields.

The prime minister expressed thanks for the generous financial support to Pakistan lauded the crown prince for his backing the efforts to eradicate polio from the country.

The crown prince expressed his sincere appreciation for the warm welcome and hospitality extended to him and his delegation.

The one-on-one meeting was followed by high-level delegation talks. Pakistani delegation included Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Finance Minister Asad Umer, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Khan Afridi and Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua.

The Emirate prince also met members of the federal cabinet including Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, Power Minister Omar Ayub Khan, Planning and Development Minister Khusro Bakhtiar and Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis Zulfi Bukhari.

“The two sides discussed bilateral relations and matters of mutual, regional and international interests,” said an official statement.

An International Monetary Fund team visited Pakistan in November 2018 to discuss the economic crises - negotiating a programme, likely to cover a period of 3 years. The talks remained inconclusive and there will be another round this month. Finance Minister Asad Umar said that the IMF package would only be accepted if it did not hit the poor Pakistanis.

Institute of International Finance in its latest report said that a potential IMF programme for Pakistan could be valued at $15 billion. The IIF expected an agreement on a 3-year IMF programme of $15 billion by end of 2018. Finance Minister Asad Umer originally said that the IMF would be asked for a $12 billion package while another $5 billion would be sought from World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.

But with the Saudi and UAE support worth billions of dollars in addition to a financial package by China, the IMF loan may be reduced.

Last month, the UAE officially announced that it would assist Pakistan to help it overcome international payment crisis and to avoid the deal with the IMF, which contained strict terms and conditions.

This was the third interaction between the leadership of Pakistan and UAE in less than 3 months. UAE is Pakistan’s largest trading partner in the Middle East and a major source of investments in education, health, energy and infrastructure development. It is home to more than 1.6 million Pakistani expatriate community which contributes around 4.5 billion dollars annually to the Gross Domestic Product.

Both countries have been working to transform the existing relations into a ‘long-term strategic economic partnership’ as it was agreed between the two leaders during PM Imran Khan’s visit to UAE on November 18, 2018.

Pakistan received $2 billion in cash from Saudi Arabia at an interest rate of 3.18 percent, whereas the 3rd tranche of $1 billion is due in the first week of February. Islamabad has also received billions of dollars in Chinese loans to finance ambitious infrastructure projects in the country.

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said that visit of Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Muhammad bin Zayed Al-Nahyan will further strengthen relations between the two countries.

In a statement, he said that the crown prince considered Pakistan as his second home. The Information Minister said that talks about the establishment of oil refinery had entered the final stage.

The crown prince departed for the UAE after conducting back-to-back meetings. Minister for Power Omer Ayub Khan saw off him at Nur Khan Airbase. The Crown Prince last visited Pakistan in January 2007.

 

 

Details of PM, Prince meeting

Prime Minister Imran Khan and UAE Crown Prince Sheikh Muhammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan at their one-on-meeting expressed satisfaction at the ongoing defence and security cooperation, and resolved to explore further collaboration in the areas of training, joint exercises and defence production.

The prime minister welcomed the UAE’s interest in investing in Pakistan’s oil and gas, logistics, ports and construction sectors.

The two leaders underscored the importance of effectively pursuing various initiatives taken for a strengthened strategic bilateral economic relationship including working on a long term investment framework agreement.

They also resolved to take all necessary measures to deal with matters related to trade enhancement, and decided to form a Task Force to achieve this objective.

Prime Minister Khan and Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed noted that the forthcoming Pakistan-UAE Joint Ministerial Commission, to be co-chaired by the respective foreign ministers in Abu Dhabi in February 2019, can play a pivotal role in chalking out a comprehensive roadmap, and in fast tracking the approval of pending agreements and MoUs.

Prime Minister Imran Khan briefed the UAE leadership about his government’s people centric reform agenda, and the steps taken to promote transparency and accountability at all levels of government.

To counter white collar crimes including money laundering, the two leaders instructed the concerned authorities to expedite the finalization of the Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement.

 

 

Multilateral affairs

Besides the bilateral matters, Prime Minister Khan and Prince Muhammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan discussed various issues of regional and global importance.

They noted that a complete identity of views on these issues serves as the basis of long-lasting and trusted friendship.

The PM briefed the crown prince on the situation in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and the plight of Kashmiris.

The Prime Minister briefed the Crown Prince about the efforts Pakistan was making to facilitate the Afghan-owned and Afghan-led reconciliation process.

He also appreciated the role UAE was playing by hosting reconciliation talks in Abu Dhabi. The two leaders agreed to work closely for the lasting peace and stability of Afghanistan.

The two leaders strongly condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and expressed their resolve to work closely to root out this scourge.

The Crown Prince recognised the efforts and unparalleled sacrifices made by Pakistan to eliminate terrorism and extremism.

The prime minister congratulated the leadership of the UAE for declaring 2019 as the year of tolerance.

He noted that this was the best way to pay tribute to the vision and legacy of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

The two leaders reiterated their strong belief that only by espousing the principles of tolerance, inclusivity, non-interference and focusing on a people centric development agenda, can the region attain sustainable peace and stability.

 

 

 

App adds:

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis Zulfi Bukhari said the UAE was Pakistan’s largest trading partner in the Middle East and a major source of investments.

He said the oil rich country was home to more than 1.6 million expatriate community and the Crown Prince was all praise for their contribution to the UAE’s development.

He said both the sides also discussed the issue of Pakistanis imprisoned in the UAE jails.

He said the Crown Prince was requested to softly deal the issue of those prisoners who were involved in petty crimes. A mechanism about it would be formed by the two countries, he added.

Talking to media persons here Information Minister Fawad Hussain said the UAE had already announced $3 billion cash support to help Pakistan overcome its balance of payment crisis while the provision of oil facility on deferred payment was under discussion.

The UAE had supported Pakistan in the critical time as its leadership considered the country as their second home, he said, adding the two countries had very close and fraternal relations.

The minister said the visit of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan would further deepen the already cordial relations between Pakistan and the UAE.

He said it was the first official visit of Sheikh Mohammed as Crown Prince to Pakistan at the invitation of Prime Minister Imran Khan. Earlier, he visited Pakistan in 2007.

It was the third interaction between the leadership of two countries in less than three months, which was a testimony to the special nature of brotherly relations between them, he added.

Minister for Petroleum Ghulam Sarwar Khan while talking to APP said the visit of Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi would have very positive results. The UAE leadership, he said, had assured Prime Minister Imran Khan during his visit to the country, of help to steer Pakistan out of the present economic crisis.

He said during the delegation level talks, both sides discussed the provision of oil facility on deferred payment to Pakistan like that of Saudi Arabia.

 

crown prince spent three days in Pakistan: Fawad

 

Monitoring Desk adds: Information and Broadcasting Minister Fawad Chaudhry said that Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan had left Islamabad for UAE after spending three days in Pakistan.

In a tweet on Sunday, Fawad dismissed a media report that the visiting dignitary came to Pakistan from Abu Dhabi and returned just after two hours. The minister said that the report was not true.

In a second tweet, he said that Abu Dhabi had played a role for recent Afghan peace talks and supported Pakistan to avert the balance of payment crisis.

The minister further said that media’s freedom was under threat from quack journalists.

 

UAE crown prince delivers $6.2 billion package