Video: Sheikh Mohamed receives Pakistan’s Imran Khan

Khan was accorded an official reception where the Pakistani national anthem was played, and a 21-gun salute was fired in his honour.

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, received Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, who arrived in the UAE on Sunday.

Upon his arrival at the Presidential Palace in Abu Dhabi, the Pakistani Prime Minister was accorded an official reception where the Pakistani national anthem was played, and a 21-gun salute was fired in his honour. Khan and his accompanying delegation were also greeted by a number of sheikhs and senior officials who welcomed his visit to the country.

Amongst those welcoming the Pakistani official were Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan, National Security Adviser; Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs; Suhail bin Mohammed Faraj Faris Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Industry; Dr. Sultan bin Ahmad Al Jaber, Minister of State; Ali bin Hammad Al Shamsi, Deputy Secretary-General of the Supreme National Security Council; Mohammed Mubarak Al Mazrouei, Under-secretary of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court; Issa Saif bin Ablan Al Mazrouei, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces; and Hamad Al Zaabi, UAE Ambassador to Pakistan.

The Pakistani delegation included Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi; Minister of Finance Asad Umar; Minister of Petroleum Ghulam Sarwar Khan; Chief of Army Staff of the Pakistan Army, General Qamar Javed Bajwa; and the country’s Ambassador to the UAE, Moazzam Ahmad Khan.

Khan is also expected to meet His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai at a later time, the Foreign Office said.

After $6 billion in aid from Saudi Arabia, and another package from China whose details have not been disclosed, a similar deal with the UAE would go a long way in easing Pakistan’s balance of payments (BoP) situation. It would also put the country on a better footing in ongoing negotiations with the IMF.

“The two governments have worked on details of the package for some time now so the leaders can agree on the final details,” said Information Minister Fawad Chaudhary, though he did not talk about the size of the expected bailout.

“The UAE and Pakistan have very close ties at all levels and are working closely at this important moment as well, which is why their leadership has invited Prime Minister Imran Khan. Yes, they have worked it out,” Chaudhary added.

Most of the details about trade deals and likely bailout package, expected to be announced later today, were finalised when UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan led a delegation of the country’s top business and corporate leaders to Islamabad last month.

“Such negotiations go on for a number of rounds and today’s meeting will be the first such interaction at the highest level,” said former finance minister Salman Shah, who was part of the team that successfully led the country out of the last major BoP crisis in General Musharraf’s time.

“And they are not just about bailouts. If they are successful, Pakistan will be able to attract foreign investment in large amounts.”

The UAE has surplus investment, Shah added, and its sovereign wealth fund – the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, which was part of Shaikh Abdullah’s delegation – makes big strategic investments across the world. If such investments are routed towards Pakistan, others will also follow.

Success in Abu Dhabi, therefore, is expected to bolster reserves as well as enable more FDI (foreign direct investment) and subsequently higher growth, more jobs and “a virtuous circle of growth”.

Imran Khan’s latest visit to the UAE comes nearly two months after he first visited the Emirates following his election as the prime minister.


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