The UAE-Pakistani Friendship Road, funded by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development at cost of US$60.6 million, has been inaugurated in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in Pakistan.
The move follows the directives of the President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and follow up by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, to provide the humanitarian and development aid to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, reported Wam, the state news agency
The UAE-Pakistani Friendship Road, at 72km, is one of the biggest development projects in the tribal region and links south and north of Waziristan.
The project was opened by General Raheel Sharif, Chief of Staff of the Pakistan Army, in the presence of Abdullah Khalifa Al Ghafli, Director of the UAE Project to Assist Pakistan (PAP), members of the project, senior Pakistani army officers, senior local government officials of the tribal areas, and tribal dignitaries.
During the inauguration ceremony, the audience thanked the UAE President for his kind gesture. General Sharif extended his thanks to Sheikh Khalifa for continuous support, citing the UAE- Pakistani Friendship Road, deemed one of the development projects in Pakistan. He delivered the message of gratitude on the behalf of inhabitants of the tribal areas to the UAE leadership.
For his part, Al Ghafli stressed that the bilateral relations between the UAE and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan have a unique and special character demonstrated through the fraternal spirit, appreciation, mutual respect and shared vision between the leaders and peoples of the two countries.
He pointed out that the opening of “this vital road is nothing but the product of a long history of love, togetherness and cohesion between the leaders and peoples of the two friendly countries.”
Al Ghafli said that the directives of the political leadership of the UAE have leveraged the success of the project and translated it into a reality. He appreciated the kind gestures of the UAE President and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, which focussed on helping the poor and needy in Pakistan.
He also praised the support and continuous follow-up enjoyed by the PAP by H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs. He stressed that the support and follow-up by Sheikh Mansour was a catalyst for the successful implementation of 164 development projects in Pakistan.
Al Ghafli referred to the success of partnership, cooperation and coordination with the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, which has been keen to contribute to several development projects in the areas of roads, bridges, health, education being implemented by the UAE Project to Assist Pakistan.
A number of beneficiaries told Emirates News Agency (WAM) that they were appreciative about the UAE leadership’s stance to offer all forms of assistance in time of their need. While welcoming the opening of the road which would facilitate transport in the tribal region, the beneficiaries noted that the naming of the project, the UAE- Pakistani Friendship Road, “reflects intimacy in the relationship between the peoples of the UAE and Pakistan.”