Pak PM Sharif arrives in UAE on 2-day visit

Islamabad, Jan 12 (PTI) Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif travelled to the UAE on Thursday on a two-day visit aimed at ramping up bilateral economic and trade ties, just days after the country’s powerful Army chief General Asim Munir concluded his trip to the Gulf emirate.

Sharif is leading a delegation of key ministers on his third visit to the UAE since becoming prime minister in April last year. He was received by UAE’s Minister for Economic Affairs Touq Al Mari at Abu Dhabi airport.

“My visit to the UAE is aimed at building on the conversation I have had with H.H. President Sheikh @MohamedBinZayed. We share a resolve & understanding that the continuous efforts need to be made to further strengthen trade, investment & economic relations,” Sharif tweeted after landing in the UAE.

Pakistan’s Foreign Office said on Tuesday that Sharif will meet the UAE president Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed with a particular focus on advancing economic, trade and investment ties between the two countries.

“The two leaders will also exchange views on a range of regional and global issues of mutual interest,” it said in a statement.

He will also meet UAE’s Vice President Mohammad bin Rashid Al Makhtoum, who is also the prime minister and the ruler of Dubai.

Sharif’s visit to the Gulf emirate came two days after Army chief General Munir travelled to the country on the second leg of his week-long visit to Saudi Arabia and the UAE – his first official trip abroad since assuming office in November last year.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE are the two key supporters of Pakistan who come to its rescue when the chips are down.

The back-to-back visits of top military and civil leadership from Pakistan assume significance as the cash-strapped country is battling to fix its economic and political fissures amidst a parochial political rivalry between former premier Imran Khan and the current government.

Pakistan faces a serious crisis as its foreign reserves are down to USD 5.8 billion, which includes deposits worth USD 5 billion from Saudi Arabia and China with specific conditions of use.

Pakistan’s economic situation is facing severe headwinds with inflation being forecast to stay high between 21-23 per cent and the country’s fiscal deficit widening by more than 115 per cent in the first four months (July-October) of the current fiscal year.