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  • Pakistan-UAE lasting relations in trade, culture and economic ventures

Cross-border trade is one of the main indicators and drivers of national growth. Countries with more partnerships and trade ties typically have more cordial international relations. It is to their best advantage to have friendly ties with other countries that serve as vital logistical routes or economic partners.

If we look at global trade then there is no doubt in the fact that the twenty-first century has seen a greater evolution in diplomacy and international relations than in previous decades, as governments have rearranged their alliances and changed their alignments on a far wider spectrum. The spectrum encompasses everything from culture to economy and all points in between. This change depends on shared interests and is people-centric, which is also true in the Middle East, where long-standing disputes are being settled for the benefit of the populace, new bonds are being formed to further bigger objectives and an abundance of goodwill is causing ripple effects of peace and harmony among allies in the area and beyond. Nevertheless, the connection between Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates has always focused on people, and over more than 70 years, the two have strengthened their partnership in a variety of ways, including trade and business, art and culture, and most importantly, faith and religion.

Strong bond

The potential for Pakistan to navigate multifaceted economic challenges through a long-term partnership with the UAE. Notably, the UAE boasts one of the world’s largest Pakistani Diaspora, responsible for sending remittances totaling $6.11 billion back to Pakistan where, UAE urges for collaborative ventures in various sectors, including industrial projects, solar energy initiatives, corporate farming, IT, and petrochemicals. Furthermore, recently Pakistan has advocated for the integration of the UAE into the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a transformative infrastructure project.

Workers remittances to Pakistan 2020

There is no doubt the fact that the UAE has deposited billions of dollars with the State Bank of Pakistan in the past few decades, therefore playing a crucial role in bolstering Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves. It is also a noticeable fact that Pakistan was the first nation to recognise the newly-constituted UAE, and the two countries established diplomatic ties in 1971. His Highness (late) Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan established the groundwork for solid relations, which have been further reinforced by intimate interactions and ties between the citizens of our two nations. Common beliefs and cultural practices serve as the foundation for successful interpersonal relationships, strengthening them over time. Pakistanis celebrate holidays and cultural and religious events together, viewing the United Arab Emirates as their second home. They understand and value one another’s cultures, customs, and cuisines. There are frequent sporting and cultural events, business delegation exchanges, and partnerships in education and culture between Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates. People from both nations have been able to learn more about one another through these partnerships and activities, which has strengthened their bonds.

If we look at trade relations then we realise the fact that the year 2020-21 recorded $10.6 billion in trade between the nations which is the highest volume Pakistan had in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and after the signing of FTA between Pakistan and UAE, Pakistan is expecting a high rise in the trade volumes which generates mutual benefits for both nations.

Pakistan Exports to UAE

Although a sizable portion of Pakistan’s labour force receives market access and humanitarian aid from the UAE, the two countries relationship is significantly more complex than this. Apart from this transactional connection, Pakistan has gained recognition as a nation with a rich cultural heritage, stunning scenery, popular music, and sports. Events showcasing Pakistani culture and sports are often hosted in the United Arab Emirates, with enthusiastic support from both locals and foreign visitors. Pakistani companies and professions are well-represented in the UAE and make significant contributions to the country’s multicultural and diversified society. Hence, the two nations share a unique relationship as Pakistanis are the second-largest foreign resident group in UAE.

Pakistan Exports of toys, games, sports requisites to United Arab Emirates

The UAE-Pakistan relationship, which is founded on respect and goodwill, has always been fundamentally centered on this people-centric diplomacy, which many people are now eagerly awaiting. Both nations’ relationship will become stronger as long as they continue to work together steadily and create possibilities for their citizens to benefit. We hope that this special relationship between Pakistan and the UAE is filled with friendship, cooperation, and shared values. Both countries have a deep bond that goes beyond borders, and their partnership continues to grow stronger with each passing day.

The author is MD IRP/ Faculty Department of H&SS, Bahria University Karachi