Going as far back as 1972 when the United Arab Emirates came into form, Pakistan and the UAE have enjoyed cordial and magnanimous bilateral relations. Our relationship has evolved multi-fold through the years. Pakistan was the first country in the world to formally recognise the UAE’s sovereignty. Predominantly sharing the same Islamic faith, Pakistan’s contributions to this new country included the formation of key industries within the UAE, major deployment of the workforce in the economy and national infrastructure, as well as regional support. The UAE constantly reciprocates by being a major donor of financial aid to Pakistan, providing humanitarian support as and when needed, while many institutions, bridges (Sheikh Zayed Bridge in Swat), airports, hospitals (Sheikh Zayed Medical Complex), etc. in the country are named after its founding father. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan made frequent visits to Pakistan and was famously quoted to have considered it his second home. Pakistan has played a supremely vital role in the formation of the modern-day UAE known the world over. It just so happens that Dubai turned to Pakistan International Airlines, the country’s national carrier for help in setting up their flagship airline – Emirates—way back in 1985. The PIA’s management provided technical and administrative assistance to the newly formed Emirates and even leased two aircrafts to the new company. To commemorate this endearing interaction, Karachi was selected as the first destination of Emirates’ first international flight. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan was famously quoted to have considered Pakistan his second home This year would make the 50th anniversary of the “diplomatic relations and exemplary friendship” between Pakistan and the UAE. The strong foundations of this brotherly bond are evident by the fact that throughout history, multiple exchanges of regular bilateral consultations and high-level visits have taken place. This reflects our mutual respect, friendship and desire for peace. To date, more than 1.5 million Pakistanis are gainfully employed in the UAE. In 2016, trade between the two countries was valued at over USD 10 billion, and as recently as 2019-20, the UAE deposited USD 3 billion in the State Bank of Pakistan to bolster its cash flow and enhance its foreign currency reserves. In humanitarian avenues, the UAE Pakistan Assistance Program was launched in 2011 to provide assistance and mitigate the devastation caused by floods during monsoon season. This program has been vital, especially in areas like Swat, as it successfully provided for the construction of two bridges, 52 schools, and seven hospitals as well as 64 water supply schemes. Apart from infrastructural gaps, this assistance program also focuses on alleviating poverty, developing education, and advancing healthcare. As of 2020, more than 30,000 Pakistani students have been enrolled in schools built by UAE-PAP with an estimated investment value of USD 200 million. The UAE has also orchestrated many campaigns to eradicate polio in Pakistan. Since 2014, millions of doses were delivered and administered to about 71 million children in Pakistan. Our government has always shown its keen interest in strengthening ties between Pakistan and the UAE, with all possible aspects of the bilateral relationship to enhance cooperation in diverse areas including trade, investment, infrastructure, energy, technology, tourism and manpower. We take great pride in the positive role being played by the Pakistani emigrants towards the development of both countries as we keep seeing the reflection of warm and brotherly ties. The writer is a Daily Times Correspondent and tweets @maferozi.