Pakistan and Qatar have signed several pacts during the first official visit of Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani to Islamabad. The accords would further boost the bilateral ties of two brother Muslim countries as memorandums of understanding were signed in different sectors like culture, youth affairs, sports and higher education.
Premier Nawaz Sharif welcomed Emir of Qatar and expressed desire to enhance cooperation in all fields. Both countries can cooperate in various areas of mutual interest including energy sector, trade, investment, defence and manpower. Last month, Pakistan finalized 21 billion $ contract with Qatar for the supply of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). Under the terms of the agreement, Qatar will supply Pakistan with 500 million cubic feet per day of LNG. This deal will help alleviate the energy crisis caused by the gas shortfall in the country.
Currently, volume of bilateral trade between Pakistan and Qatar is $ 300 million per annum that needs to be increased multiple times. Qatar can be an ideal market for the consumption of Pakistan’s food products particularly by exporting quality fruits and vegetables to Qatar, Pakistan can increase its export income. Along with trade prospects, Pakistan has requested Qatar to increase Pakistani manpower employed in the latter that will ultimately benefit the Pakistan economy in the form of remittances. As Qatar is going to host the FIFA 2022 World Cup, it will require a lot of infrastructural development. Pakistani engineers and labour force can be effective in playing their role in the development of infrastructure in Qatar. Almost 100,000 Pakistanis are already working there and adding their share to the economy of Qatar. Gulf States are rich in resources and included in the flourishing economies. Pakistan can improve trade prospects with these states to help its economy to utilise these incentives for the welfare of the masses.