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Pakistan, Qatar agree to boost bilateral trade

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Pakistan, Qatar agree to boost bilateral trade

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has termed his meeting on Sunday with the Qatari leadership as productive.

He was received at the airport by senior officials of the Qatri Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Pakistani Embassy in Doha for his one-day official visit to Qatar.

The Afghan reconciliation process, bilateral relations and other important regional and global issues were discussed during Qureshi’s meeting with Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani and other top officials.

According to a statement issued by the Foreign Office in Islamabad, Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi called on Deputy Amir Sheikh Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Thani, the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the Prime Minster of Qatar and also held a detailed meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Qatar, Sheikh Mohammad bin Abdul Rahman Al-Thani.

Both sides expressed satisfaction on the upwards trajectory of bilateral relations symbolized by exchange of recent high-level visits, starting with the visit of Foreign Minister of Qatar to Islamabad in October 2018. This was followed by return visits to Doha by our Minister of State for Interior in October, Minister of Finance on 14-15 December, COAS on 17-18 December to attend the Qatar National Day Parade, and Foreign Minister’s visit today.

Foreign Minister Qureshi highlighted vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan to strengthen relations with most important regional countries and neighbours of Pakistan, including Qatar. Both sides agreed that such synergy was necessary to overcome common hurdles and devise a consensus-based approach to achieve wider regional development and progress. As part of high-level engagements in this spirit, Prime Minister Imran Khan is now due to visit Doha on mutually agreed dates in January 2019.

Foreign Minister also briefed the Qatari leadership on recent developments concerning peace in Afghanistan. He underlined the foresightedness of Amir of Qatar in providing an early foundation for peace and reconciliation efforts in Afghanistan. He added that close and regular coordination between Pakistan and Qatar in this regard would assist the ongoing efforts to achieve a broader regional understanding for long term stability in Afghanistan and the region.

The Foreign Minister assured the leadership of Qatar of Pakistan’s commitment to further solidify bilateral political, economic and defence relations. He expressed satisfaction for opening of Qatar Visa Centers in Pakistan adding that it would fast track recruitment process for import of 100,000 Pakistani workers by Qatar. He offered services of professional Pakistani workforce for 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. Qatar is already home to 140,000 Pakistani diaspora, which provides a strong bond in the bilateral brotherly relations.

It was agreed to further speed up progress in economic, trade and investment sectors. It was noted that an increase in Pakistan’s exports to Qatar by 70.53%, mainly due to exports of food items, during the last financial year was a highly encouraging achievement. This export trend now needed to be replicated in export of nonperishable items as well. Pharmaceuticals, construction, shipping and maritime sectors held the best potential in this regard. Pakistan also offered considerable investment opportunities for Qatari companies in SEZ’s under CPEC and for joint ventures. It was agreed that avenues to fully explore these potentials would be explored during the upcoming JMC and Bilateral Political Consultations in first quarter of 2019 in Doha.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Thani thanked the Foreign Minister for his visit to Qatar and conveyed his best wishes for the continued peace, progress and prosperity of Pakistan. He reiterated the desire ofAmir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani to strengthen relations with Pakistan in all areas, particularly to achieve regional peace, stability as well as to promote bilateral economic and cultural cooperation. He reiterated that Qatar’s commitment of brotherhood with Pakistan was beyond doubt and the relationship could only move from strength to strength, adding that Qatar looked forward to the visit of Pakistan PM that would add a fresh chapter in the bilateral ties. – NNI