The Chief of Army Staff of Pakistan General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani accompanied by UAE Ambassador to Pakistan Eisa Abdullah Al Basha Al Nuaimi and Director of the UAE Assistance Programme to Pakistan Abdullah Khalifa Al Ghafli, on Friday inaugurated Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Road in South of Waziristan area in Pakistan.
The building of the $38.01 million-road, one of the largest and most important projects in Pakistan, is under the directives of the President, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to develop and modernise infrastructure in Pakistan’s remote and poor regions
The opening ceremony was attended by a number of local ministers in the region, senior Pakistani army officers, senior officials, tribal chiefs, citizens and members of the programme.
Al Ghafli said the UAE- Pakistani relations are characterised with spirit of solidarity, fraternity and mutual respect, adding that the inauguration of the road reflects long history of solidarity and cohesion between the UAE leaders and people with Pakistan.
He cited the initiatives and efforts of the UAE President to provide the developmental assistance to the Pakistani people in all fields.
Al Ghafli said the road is strategic as it connects Pakistan and Afghanistan with the central Asian countries, noting that it would ease the trade exchange for local people. The road shortens the distance between Karachi and Kabul by 400 km.
He referred to continuous support to the Programme by General Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces Shaikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs.
Regarding the role of the Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Humanitarian Foundation, Al Ghafli said the Foundation plays a pivotal role in financing the roads and bridges being implemented by the UAE Assistance programme to Pakistan. He noted that the Foundation funded the Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Bridge on Swat River, which was opened last year and the Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Road too.
Al Ghafli said the total amount offered by the Foundation for the road and bridge projects in Pakistan was $60.9 million.
He noted that the Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Road will have positive economic impact on local people in South Waziristan.