ISLAMABAD, Asharq Al-Awsat- UAE Ambassador to Islamabad Ali Mohammad Al-Shamsi says his country’s total investment in Pakistan is expected to reach $50 billion from $12 billion as part of a major business strategy, making the UAE largest foreign investor in Pakistan.
Pakistan is indeed one of the most favorite destinations of UAE’s foreign investment. It is a matter of pride that UAE’s public and private entities are actively engaged in making investment in Pakistan, the ambassador told English newspaper, The News, in an interview.
He said the recent privatization deal, the largest in Pakistan’s history, was fetched by the Emirates Telecommunication Corporation ETISALAT, which acquired 26 per cent stakes in the Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) and its management control.
Al-Shamsi said that in the past 12 months, the UAE has succeeded in making substantial progress in the economic and social development of Pakistan and has continued to play a vital role in regional and international affairs.
The diplomat said the UAE-based investment group Emaar and Pakistan’s Port Qasim Authority are in the process of undertaking a mega joint-venture project to develop an area of 12,000 acres of land into a modern city near Karachi.
At present, a state-managed fund in the UAE is considering investing $5 billion in building an oil refinery in Pakistan with an estimated capacity of 200,000 to 300,000 barrels per day, Al-Shamsi said.
He said Sheikh Zayed Centre, a 55-storey complex, is to be built in Lahore under a joint venture between Abu Dhabi Group and the Punjab government.
The UAE is one of Pakistan’s major trading partners; he said adding that approximately eight per cent of Pakistan’s exports come to the UAE, making it the second-largest destination for Pakistani exports. In view of the increased potential of trade between the two countries, Pakistan has already started negotiations with the Arab Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) on a Free Trade Agreement.
The envoy said he is confidant that the volume of business between the two countries will further increase after both countries acceded to the New York Convention.”