Etisalat, an Arab Emirates concern, has recently
bought 25 percent shares of PTCL for Rs 2 billion (69 million
dollars). It is a huge investment and will, no doubt, boost Pakistan's
economy. Modern technology, coupled with more investment in the
sector, will open fresh avenues of progress. There were, however, some
concerns that the deal would jeopardise secrecy of sensitive agencies
and put the jobs of employees at stake. The Pakistan government has
obtained firm guarantees from Etisalat in this context and the latter
has provided the necessary guarantees and given every assurance of
co-operation as well.
The United Arab Emirates, and particularly Sheikh
Zayed, the late ruler of Abu Dhabi, have long been working for the
welfare of the poor and the needy in Pakistan. Their philanthropic
organisations are spread all over the country. Apart from that, the Al
Nahyan family plans to make massive investment in Pakistan. It has
nominated Sheikh Nahyan Al-Mubarak Nahyan as chief of all such
programmes. This decision is, indeed, a farsighted and judicious one.
The House of Al-Nahyan has a soft corner for
Pakistan and is a great benefactor of the country. When President
Musharraf paid a visit to Qatar and the Emirates last month, he was
given a rousing reception by Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, the ruler of
Abu Dhabi and President of the United Arab Emirates. Sheikh Khalifa
told the President: "We plan to make hefty investment in
Pakistan. We have directed the private sector to do likewise and
advised them not to focus on profits alone but to also bear in mind
the interests of our Pakistani brothers."
Sheikh Khalifa has a charming personality. He is
clear-sighted, a man of few words and a firm decision taker. Sheikh
Nahyan has been investing in Pakistan since long. Bank Alfalah and the
United Bank bear this out. He has now established his own Dhabi Group
which has initiated the construction of Zayed Commercial Centre on 91
kanals of land on Ferozepur Road, Lahore. It will be the largest
centre of its kind in South Asia. He has also signed an agreement to
build an ultra-modern Lakeview City on 30,000 acres of land near
Shahdara. (It would have been more befitting to name the new city
after Sheikh Zayed). Work is expected to begin on this project by the
end of the year. It would provide accommodation to some 1.5 to two
Most people are not really aware of the chief
character quality of Sheikh Nahyan Al Mubarak Al Nahyan. As a good
acquaintance of him, I can speak about him with honesty and candour.
Sheikh Nahyan is the son of Sheikh Mubarak bin Muhammad Al Nahyan.
Sheikh Mubarak is a cousin brother of the late Sheikh Zayed, and was
for years interior minister of Abu Dhabi and later, the United Arab
Emirates. He established a police and administrative system that is
among the best in the world. Abu Dhabi today stands in line with
countries with a zero crime rate.
Some 25 years ago, Sheikh Mubarak visited London to
attend a conference. He was accompanied by Sheikh Nahyan. In London,
their car met with a serious accident. Sheikh Mubarak suffered severe
head and leg injuries. His brain, too, was affected. However, by the
grace of Allah Almighty and the endeavours of the doctors, Sheikh
Mubarak recovered. May Allah Almighty grant him a long life.
Sheikh Nahyan is a product of western institutions.
A man of knowledge himself, he is a friend of scholars. Sheikh Zayed
appointed him vice chancellor of Al Ain University. He has some unique
qualities which I have not observed in any other person. He is a
paragon of filial loyalty. His father has regained normalcy after the
accident but is no longer active. Sheikh Nahyan gets up early in the
morning and offers 'Fajr' prayers along with his father. Then they
have breakfast together and he feeds his father with a lot of passion.
After a short rest, he assists him to attend the Majlis where Sheikh
Mubarak meets locals and foreigners from 8 a.m to 10 a.m. As Sheikh
Nahyan is also federal minister for higher education, he works till 4
p.m. in his office. If some official business still remains pending,
he completes it after 'Isha' prayers. He then conducts his father back
to the Majlis which the latter attends from 4 to 6 in the evening.
This routine continues throughout the year. Once a year, he brings his
father for a month to hunt in Cholistan (Pakistan). At times he has
invited me to join in. I once asked Sheikh Nahyan how he could spend a
month on such an exhausting exercise. He replied that, regardless of
his own love for the sport, he always felt more happy to see his
father happy. It is a capital lesson for our younger generation and an
example worth emulating. May God guide all sons to be obedient and
respectful and make all parents as fortunate as those of Sheikh Nahyan.
After PTCL, the Nahyan family plans to invest in
water and power. It is also likely to purchase OGDC or PPL. It,
moreover, plans to invest in real estate on a large scale. President
Pervez Musharraf has no doubts about Pakistan's future and is pursuing
his dream with all the enthusiasm at his command. He has close and
staunch relations with the House of Al-Nahyan. President Musharraf is
striving to ensure the strategic and economic development of Pakistan.
The President's efforts are being ably buttressed by Prime Minister
Shaukat Aziz, Chief Minister Punjab, Chaudhry Pervaiz Ellahi and
General (r) Khalid Maqbool, Governor Punjab. May Allah Almighty grant
them success in their individual and collective efforts.
(The writer is Chairman,
Rafi Group & Jinnah-Rafi Foundation)