Strengthening ties with Qatar

Pakistan enjoys very brotherly, warm, and friendly relations with members of the Islamic Ummah, particularly with Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Qatar besides having cordial friendly relations with other countries around the globe. With regards to Qatar, Pakistan has always enjoyed excellent relations with this fraternal country on a commonality of religion, culture, values, and traditions. These relations were duly highlighted when Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif recently paid a two-day official visit to Qatar at the invitation of Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani and reflected in all engagements and activities of the Pakistani leader there.
During his two-day visit, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had a very productive meeting with the Emir of Qatar, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Qatar Investment Authority, and visited FIFA World Cup Stadium 974 in Doha and gave a briefing about preparations being made for hosting the FIFA World Cup 2022. During the upcoming world cup sporting event in the world, football manufactured in Sialkot, Pakistan, is to be used officially throughout. It is also worth mentioning here that Pakistan Army will be assisting Qatar in the maintenance of security of the major sporting event.
The relations between the two brotherly countries have over the years seen a steady and positive trajectory, the two countries now want to transform these historical and fraternal bilateral relations into a more robust strategic relationship through the enhancement of economic cooperation in diverse fields of mutual interest. Over the years Qatar has been extending multi-field support to Pakistan in an unrelenting manner. Both countries have a rich history of cooperation in the bilateral domain as well as on multilateral forums, ties between Pakistan and Qatar were rooted deeply in the shared faith, mutual understanding, and convergence of interests.
Both the brotherly countries’ relationship is based on mutual trust and shared goal of achieving prosperity for their people, have had excellent cooperation in various fields including energy, manpower export and people to people linkages in the past and quite obviously there is great potential as well as opportunities for transformation of these into more robust partnership by exploring new ventures of cooperation in sectors like renewable energy, food security, industrial and infrastructure development and hospitality.
With Pakistan still reeling from an acute energy crisis and a precarious economic situation, a lot more needs to be done to rid the country of the clutches of these crises with the help of oil-rich friendly states in the Gulf region. Pakistan needs to boost its relations further with the brotherly state of Qatar taking these to new strategic heights in the coming years, as stressed by the prime minister. There are huge reserves of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) in Qatar and Pakistan needs to strike an affordable deal for purchasing LNG from Qatar to help prevent the ongoing energy crisis in the country.
Furthermore, a large number of Pakistani nationals are currently working and living in Qatar and sending remittances back home. Due to the existing rate of unemployment in the country due to various factors, Pakistanis see an opportunity in Qatar’s flourishing economy and the opportunities existing in this regard should be explored and availed through mutual negotiations at the appropriate higher government level of both the countries. As already mentioned above, Qatar is going to host the FIFA 2022 World Cup and as such will be requiring a lot of workforce in different sectors. Pakistani engineers and the labour force can play an effective as well as productive role in the development of infrastructure in Qatar besides the troops going there to ensure security at the mega event.
Like the other Gulf States, Qatar also stands prominent in offering several incentives to Pakistan due to its regional importance. Besides taking advantage of these opportunities, there are also good prospects for boosting relations between Pakistan and Qatar. As per available figures, presently the volume of bilateral trade is $ 3.2 billion per annum which ought to be increased further to higher through concerted efforts. Pakistan also needs to boost its ties with Qatar and the other Gulf States through the exchange of visits like that of the Prime Minister and high-level delegations from relevant fields by positively availing the generous offers being made by these states from time to time to utilise these incentives for the socio-economic welfare of the masses at large in the country.

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