The UAE government, with the help of the Pakistan Army, started the UAE Pakistan Assistance Programme (UAE PAP) on January 12, 2011 with the theme ‘Peace through Sustained Development'.
"The projects were completed in collaboration with the Engineers Division in very challenging and difficult circumstances,” said Major General Asim Saleem Bajwa, Director-General of the ISPR (Inter Services Public Relations).
He said that Pakistan and UAE have always enjoyed a long-lasting relationship based on trust, friendship and solidarity.
In an interview with Gulf News, Maj Gen Bajwa outlined the various projects being carried out by the UAE in Pakistan in collaboration with the Pakistan armed forces.
"To mitigate the impact of militancy in Malakand Division, Bajaur Agency and South Waziristan Agency, UAE PAP efforts were focused on education, health, water supply and infrastructure,” he said.
The grant provided by the UAE, he added, is being used not only for the development and rehabilitation of terrorism-stricken areas but also during natural calamities. In 2010, the UAE was the first country to help flood-hit areas of Swat by redeveloping infrastructure.
The UAE provided full assistance in rebuilding schools and educational institutions destroyed during the militant uprising. Under UAE PAP projects, 42 educational facilities in Swat district have been built.
"The construction of 64 water schemes, 21 schools and a bridge have also been completed in collaboration with UAE in FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) and Malakand,” said Maj Gen Bajwa. "As a result, 1,200 families have been provided with clean drinking water, while thousands of children are going to schools.
Government Poly Technical Institute and vocational training centres have also been constructed under UAE PAP in Swat, Dir and Mingora which provided an opportunity to men and women for enhancement of skills and enabled them to maintain a degree of self-reliance and self-sufficiency.”
Other projects that have come on board are a 40-bed agency hospital in South Waziristan, a 90-bed Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak model hospital and a 80-bed hospital in Khar.
All these projects, said Maj Gen Bajwa, have facilitated the process of economic development and ensured greater economic and social stabilisation in the region. "The support of our brothers from UAE has been commendable,” he emphasised.