ISLAMABAD: Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Sunday afternoon left Islamabad for his home country after a day-long official visit, ARY News reported.
The visit has confirmed the speculations about a financial package by the oil-rich middle-east emirate to Pakistan, which was doing rounds since last week.
A statement by the Ministry of Information issued shortly afterwards thanked the United Arab Emirates (UAE) crown prince for the generous balance of payment support of US$3bn.
According to the statement, “the financial support shows the UAE’s continued commitment and friendship that has remained steadfast over the years”.
A host of regional and global issues also came under discussion as the Crown Prince, who visited Pakistan after 12 years, had a one-on-one meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan whereas delegation-level talks between the Pakistani and Emirati officials and cabinet members also took place.
UAE Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who is also the Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE armed forces had visited Pakistan on the invitation of PM Imran and was accompanied by a high-level delegation comprising his cabinet members.
Sheikh Mohammed was given a red carpet welcome upon his arrival at the Nur Khan airbase. Prime Minister Imran Khan received him personally and drove him to the PM House.
The Abu Dhabi crown prince was given a guard of honour and a fly-past salute during a welcome ceremony at the Prime Minister House.
According to the statement, the prime minister also briefed the crown prince on the situation in India-occupied Jammu and Kashmir and the plight of Kashmiris.
The need to strengthen the ‘strategic bilateral economic relationship’ and an agreement for ‘long-term investment framework’ was also stressed upon by the two leaders.
The two leaders also agreed to form a joint task force to enhance trade between the countries and deal with all the matters related to bilateral commerce activities.
“The prime minister expressed thanks for the generous balance of payment support of US$3 billion. He noted that this financial support shows the UAE’s continued commitment and friendship that has remained steadfast over the years”, the statement read.
This was the third interaction between the leadership of Pakistan and UAE in less than three months.
Reports had emerged last week that the UAE had finalised a financial package of $6.2 billion for Pakistan. The UAE package was said to comprise of $3.2bn worth of oil supplies on deferred payment and a $3bn cash deposit.
The package was expected to be announced by UAE Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan during his visit of Pakistan today (Sunday).
The UAE package is reportedly under the same terms and conditions as given by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. “It was finalised this week”, an official familiar with the matter told ARY News.
The deferred payment facility will help Pakistan save around $6.4 billion on oil and gas imports from the two countries.
Pakistan has already received $2bn in cash from Saudi Arabia, and the third instalment of $1bn is due in the first week of February.
Meanwhile, China, last week, also confirmed $2bn in financial aid to Pakistan.
No truth in Crown Prince’s early departure: Fawad
Later on Sunday evening, the Federal Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry dispelled the impressions by certain quarters that the crown prince had left Pakistan in urgency before his scheduled departure.
He went on to claim that the Abu Dhabi crown prince was in Pakistan since three days and only departed from Islamabad today.
In a series of tweets, Chaudhry said that “reporters who had never been to the Foreign Office portrayed themselves as experts on foreign policy”.
He further said that details of all such visits are finalised beforehand, and there was no truth in the news of his before-the-schedule departure.
“Considering Abu Dhabi’s role in Afghan dialogue, support to Pakistan for balance-of-payments, and Pakistan’s standing today in the Arab world, [the journalists] ought to confirm the reports first”, he tweeted.