ISLAMABAD: United Arab Emirates (UAE) President Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Wednesday said his country was considering boosting its investment in Pakistan — which drastically needs such inflows to keep its economy afloat in the face of a financial crisis.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and President Al Nahyan — who arrived in Pakistan on a private visit — held a bilateral meeting. PM Shehbaz, along with other government functionaries, received the dignitary at Chandna Airport.
“Be prepared, UAE will make a huge investment in Pakistan,” sources quoted the UAE president as saying during a cordial meeting with Prime Minister Shehbaz at the airport.
The Prime Minister recalled his recent visit to the UAE and emphasised that both countries would work on the understanding reached between the two leaders in various fields, during his visit to the UAE.
The UAE president said that the brotherly relations between the two countries went back many decades and his father, who had immense love for Pakistan and its people, laid the foundation of their bilateral ties.
The president also assured the prime minister that the UAE would always stand by Pakistan.
Taking to Twitter, the premier wrote: “Extremely delighted to receive my brother His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed on his arrival in Pakistan, which is his second home. Building on our last meeting, we discussed ways [and] means to further strengthen our brotherly relations.”
The president expressed warm affection towards the prime minister on his arrival in Pakistan and took the premier to his personal jet, sources told Geo News.
The premier also met with the family members of the president and held conversations with his children in the English and Arabic language, the sources said.
The UAE, on January 12, agreed to lend $1 billion to Pakistan and roll over an existing $2 billion loan, the country’s information minister had said, as the country’s central bank foreign reserves fell to just three weeks’ worth of imports.
The UAE’s financial support offered some respite to the country that is still reeling from devastating nationwide floods that have caused more than $30 billion of damage.
The loan announcements came as Pakistan’s prime minister, Shehbaz Sharif, kicked off a two-day visit to the United Arab Emirates. “This support will help us tide over economic difficulties,” Sharif said in a statement.
He met UAE President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan and was due to discuss business and economic opportunities with other officials and business leaders, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said.
The International Monetary Fund’s ninth review to clear the release of a further $1.1 billion tranche of funds to Pakistan has been pending since September, so external financing is crucial for the country’s broken economy.
Foreign exchange reserves held by SBP fell to a critical level of $4.3 billion, the bank said, barely enough for three weeks of imports.
Net foreign exchange reserves held by commercial banks stood at $5.8 billion, and total liquid reserves at $10.1 billion, the bank added.