- Premier will offer his condolence to the newly elected President of UAE Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Sunday arrived in the United Arab Emirates to offer condolences on the sad demise of UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
In a tweet, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said that PM Shehbaz will convey his heartfelt condolences to the newly elected President of UAE, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan on the death of the late President.
"PM will offer condolences on behalf of the Government & people of Pakistan to the leadership & people of UAE," PMO said.
Prime Minister Shehbaz arrived in UAE on his return from London. This is PM Shehbaz's second visit to UAE after assuming office.
Earlier, PM Shehbaz said he was “deeply grieved to hear about the passing of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed.”
“UAE has lost a visionary leader and Pakistan a great friend. We send our heartfelt condolences & sympathies to the government & people of the UAE. May Allah rest his soul in peace!” he tweeted.
He said Nahyan took his father's developmental vision for UAE to new heights with fifty years of continuous hard work.
Pakistan has also announced three days national mourning from Friday till Sunday in solidarity with the people of UAE.
Khalifa, who was born in 1948, had been ruler of the richest emirate, Abu Dhabi, and UAE president since the death of his father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan, in 2004 but had rarely been seen in public since suffering a stroke in 2014.
Sheikh Khalifa was a pro-Western moderniser whose low-key approach helped steer the UAE through a tense era in regional politics by aligning the Gulf oil producer closer with Washington and its allies, including Israel.
On Saturday, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan was elected president of the Gulf Arab state by a federal supreme council, solidifying his rule over the OPEC oil producer and key regional player.
The council, which groups the rulers of the seven emirates of the UAE federation, elected Sheikh Mohammed, known as MbZ, a day after the death of his half-brother.
“We congratulate him and pledge allegiance to him as do our people…and the entire country will follow his leadership to glory,” Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is also UAE vice-president and premier, said in a Twitter post.
He becomes president at a time when the UAE’s long-standing ties with the United States have been visibly strained over perceived U.S. disengagement from its Gulf allies’ security concerns.
Sheikh Mohammed has been a driving force in Middle East politics, championing Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the West as he rose to power and combating political Islam, seen as a threat to Gulf dynastic rule, around the region.
MbZ deepened ties with Russia and China as Gulf states increasingly questioned the regional commitment of the traditional security guarantor the United States. Strains in U.S.-Emirati ties were highlighted by the Ukraine conflict as Gulf states refused to side with Western allies in isolating Russia.
After years of enmity, Abu Dhabi has also moved to engage with Iran and Turkey as the UAE doubles down on economic growth amid rising regional competition and a global push away from hydrocarbons, the lifeblood of Gulf economies
Pakistan and the UAE enjoy close fraternal ties for five decades that are rooted firmly in common beliefs and shared values and culture.