DUBAI: President Dr. Arif Alvi on Saturday inaugurated the Pakistan Pavilion at Expo 2020 in Dubai with the spotlight on Balochistan province, which the South Asian nation will be promoting at the world fair throughout October.
The exhibition is the first to be held in the Middle East, and Dubai, the region’s tourism, trade and business hub, is hoping to boost its economy by attracting 25 million business and tourist visits to the exhibition, which has been built from scratch on 4.3 sq km of desert at a cost of around $6.8 billion.
Exhibitors from almost 200 countries are participating, with many countries and companies including from Pakistan looking to the Expo — the first major global event open to visitors since the coronavirus pandemic — to boost trade and investment.
The Expo started on October 1 and will run till March 31, 2022.
The president arrived in the United Arab Emirates on Saturday on a two-day visit, during which he is also meeting Emirati dignitaries, leading businessmen, investors, entrepreneurs and senior representatives of IT companies and media based in Dubai.
“It was very difficult to depict another country far off in another place but I am very proud of what we have achieved,” Dr. Alvi told reporters during the inauguration ceremony, during which renowned Pakistani singer Akthar Channal Zehri performed Balochi folk songs.
Themed “Pakistan: The Hidden Treasure,” the Pakistan Pavilion is located in the Opportunity area of the exhibition.
Before visiting the Expo site, the president met Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, its Minister of Defense, and ruler of the Emirate of Dubai.
“Both leaders discussed opportunities for further increasing the bilateral ties between Pakistan and the UAE,” the presidential office said after the meeting.
When he reached the Gulf state, the president was received by UAE Justice Minister Abdullah bin Sultan bin Awad Al-Nuaimi.
Commerce Minister Abdul Razak Dawood and Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood are part of Dr. Alvi’s entourage. First lady Begum Samina Alvi is also accompanying the president.
During his trip, the president will also interact with members of the Pakistani community living and working in the UAE.
Alvi’s visit coincides with the 50 years of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and the UAE.