By Asghar Ali Mubarak
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has touched down in the United Arab Emirates to offer condolences over the death of its former president Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, said PMO’s official twitter handle Sunday.
The prime minister made a brief detour to the wealthy Gulf nation on his way back from the United Kingdom after the UAE’s ailing president passed away on Friday. The late Sheikh Khalifa’s brother, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (known as MBZ), was elected Saturday to succeed him.
On Saturday, the Foreign Office released a statement which said the Prime Minister will convey the “profound sympathies and condolences of the leadership, Government and people of Pakistan”.
Describing the Pakistan-UAE ties as a “close fraternal relationship”, the Foreign Office said under the leadership of Sheikh Khalifa, the relationship between Pakistan and the UAE “scaled new heights”.
“He was a sincere friend of Pakistan,” the statement said. “His invaluable contributions will be long remembered by the Government and the people of Pakistan.” In solidarity with the brotherly people of UAE, the Pakistan announced a three-day national mourning period from May 13-15, with the national flag at half-mast.
UAE’s Ministry of Presidential Affairs had announced Friday the death of Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed. He was also ruler of Abu Dhabi emirate.
The following day (Saturday), Sheikh Mohamed was elected as president. Sheikh Mohamed was elected by the Federal Supreme Council, WAM news agency said, becoming the ruler of the oil-rich country founded by his father in 1971.