ISLAMABAD - JAVED SIDDIQ  - UAE has emerged as a staunch supporter of Pakistan in its endeavours to gain political as well as economic stability in addition to assisting it to overcome the energy sector. The UAE has one of the priorities of the foreign policy as directed by its leadership is to support friendly countries especially Pakistan in critical times and natural disasters. This Muslim state is keen to make more progress and to benefit from Pakistani manpower for several reasons.

Nawa-i-Waqt conducted an exclusive interview of UAE Ambassador to Pakistan, Essa Abdulla Al-Basha Al-Noaimi. Following are the excerpts of this interview in question-answer form.

Q: Pakistan and UAE are two brotherly countries, what are the prospects of further growth of these relations?

A: First of all I would like to extend my heartiest and sincere congratulations to President Asif Ali Zardari and people of Pakistan on the occasion of Independence Day of Islamic Republic of Pakistan and I hope and pray that this occasion brings more progress and prosperity to Pakistan. I congratulate also everyone on the occasion of Eidul Fitr.

No doubt that UAE and Pakistan enjoy excellent relations between them with bonds of religion, history and culture, and Pakistan was the first country who recognised the UAE. There is deep cooperation between the two countries in all fields especially in economic and trade sectors and charity which is being carried out in different parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. It is possible to strengthen these bilateral relations to reach a high level in all areas through existence of a joint committee, which holds regular annual meetings.

Q: UAE has helped Pakistani people in the earthquake of 2005 and floods of 2010-11. Are you satisfied with the pace of relief and development work of your projects?

A:One of the priorities of the foreign policy of the UAE as directed by its leadership is to support friendly countries in critical times and natural disasters, and the humanitarian assistance and charity by UAE extended from Haiti in the West to Indonesia in the East. UAE was one of the first countries who rushed to the relief of those affected by the earthquake in Pakistan in 2005 and carried out relief operations of various kinds and forms, and UAE was the first country to stand by Pakistan when floods swept most parts of Pakistan in 2010 and 2011 and provided humanitarian assistance and financial aid to those affected by floods in different parts of Pakistan. UAE continues to stand with friendly countries and provide relief to those affected there. The best proof of these development projects is that those are being carried out by the UAE under its assistance programme for Pakistan in the areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in education, health and infrastructure sectors, with about $120 million of worth.

A: There is close cooperation and efforts between the two countries to overcome the energy crisis in Pakistan, as the UAE gifted a power plant to Pakistan and is also financing power generation project in addition to setting up a PARCO energy company, which is a joint investment between the two countries.

Q: A large number of Pakistanis are working in UAE. Do you intend to import more Pakistani workers?

A: The UAE keen to make more progress and development and to benefit from manpower in friendly countries including Pakistan for several reasons. And there is a desire to attract more manpower from Pakistan according to the needs of local market, as they contribute effectively in the developmental process in the UAE and activate the remittances sector, which also contribute to the recovery of the economy of Pakistan. On the other hand, the people from all over the world travel to UAE and there are about 202 nationalities engaged in all business and investment activities. There is a law regarding employment such as labour laws in the UAE which give guarantees and protect their rights and provide them with all the circumstances and possible means under a framework in well-organised manner.

Q: Is UAE ready to invest more in Pakistan in various fields?

A: UAE is the second largest investor in Pakistan, as the bilateral trade and investments in Pakistan has reached $21 billion in various areas of banking and real estate, energy, infrastructure, telecommunications, ports, housing and aviation, and the two sides are taking interest to hold international expos and joint investments in both countries for the development of this sector and the promotion of economy. The UAE is the first country who had organised a conference to promote investment in Pakistan and that was in Dubai in March 2010.

Q: Do you think that the current waves of change in some Middle Eastern countries will impact UAE as well?

A: The countries which faced revolutions were already having problems and the reason may be that the entire economy was having problems or the 'country was facing political problems. Generally, there was a congestion-like situation. But in UAE the country’s political and economic development continued while the reconnaissance is going on in the country since its independence in 1971. According to the last report of UN, the UAE is one of "the leading countries in the world where its citizens are living luxurious and happy life. It also applies to its residents as well. The relationship between the leadership and the nation is strong and everybody hopes to build the UAE for bright future.”

Q: How do you evaluate Pakistan's role in the war against terror?

A: The Pakistani nation is great one and has rich history and culture. It feels proud of its Islamic roots in the Muslim Ummah. Pakistan is the centre of civil and cultural intersection with humanity throughout the history. Terrorism is an international phenomenon. Generally there are efforts to stop the terrorism and violence in its different shapes. Pakistan is a frontline state against terrorism in the world, which are trying to block the way of terrorism. We ask Allah Almighty to keep Pakistan and its nation and all the countries in the world safe and let the peace and stability prevail in the entire world. We should not forget that life is very precious in Islam and it is not permissible to torture or kill a human being. There are a lot of verses in the Holy Quran and many Hadiths, which confirm this.

UAE second largest investor in Pakistan, says envoy