ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif Monday said that Pakistan held Qatar in very high esteem and wished to enhance cooperation in all fields, particularly energy, trade, investment, defence and manpower.
He said this while talking to the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani at the PM House here, who was on his first official visit to Pakistan on the invitation of the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister received the Emir and members of his delegation at Nur Khan Airbase where he was accorded a warm welcome including a 21-gun salute and guard of honour.
Talking to the Emir, the Prime Minister said Pakistan and Qatar enjoyed close and brotherly relations.
He lauded the personal contribution of the Emir in transforming Qatar into one of the most attractive destinations of the world. Qatar’s progress is remarkable, enviable and a matter of pride for us as a brotherly country, he said.
“I was waiting for your highness’ visit to Pakistan, like a brother waits for a brother,” he said.
He said Pakistan invited Qatari investment in Pakistan in all areas, adding that our bilateral trade of less than US$ 300 million per annum is much below its potential.
The Prime Minister said that Qatar was home to more than 100,000 Pakistanis whose remittances were making a valuable contribution to the socio-economic development of Pakistan. Pakistan would appreciate if Pakistani manpower in Qatar was substantially enhanced, he said.
The Qatari side expressed interest in enhancing the number of Pakistanis working in Qatar for various development projects they planned to undertake for hosting FIFA 2022 World Cup.
Both sides agreed to take measures to enhance trade and strengthen cooperation in the field of defence and manpower.
The Prime Minister said this visit of the Emir of Qatar would provide fresh impetus to bilateral relations between the two countries.
The Emir said Qatar attached great importance to its relations with Pakistan and said it was a very important country not only for Qatar but also for the region.
He expressed the confidence that his visit would open many doors for strengthening bilateral cooperation.
The Emir said Qatar would also positively look into opportunities available in Pakistan for investment including the energy sector.
Both sides also agreed to enhance exchange of visits at various levels to promote bilateral relations and for following the decisions taken by the two leaders. The Emir was accompanied by a high-level delegation including cabinet members, Chairman of Qatar Airways and senior government officials.
During the delegation level talks both sides discussed ways to further enhance bilateral cooperation in various fields including energy, investment, trade, defence and manpower. Regional and global issues of mutual interest and concern also came under discussion.
The Qatar delegation comprised Dr. Khaled Bin Mohamed Al-Attiya, Minister for Foreign Affairs; Dr. Mohammed Saleh Al-Sada; Minister for Energy & Industry; Ali Shareef Al-Emadi, Minister for Finance; Sheikh Ahmed Bin Jassem Bin Mohammed Al-Tahni Minister for Economy and Trade; Sheikh Khaled Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Chief the Emiri Dewan; Ali Bin Fahd Al-Hajri, Secretary of the Emir for Political Affairs; Akber Al-Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways; Mohammed Bin Nasser Al-Hajri, Director of Studies and Research Deptt and Saqr Bin Mubarak Al-Mansouri, Ambassador of Qatar.
Those who attended the delegation level talks included Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Minister for Defence/Water & Power; Muhammad Ishaq Dar, Minister for Finance; Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Minister for Petroleum; Sartaj Aziz, Advisor to PM on National Security; Tariq Fatemi and Capt Shujaat Azim, Special Assistant to PM; foreign secretary and Pakistan’s Ambassador to Qatar.
Both the countries signed an agreement of cooperation in the field of culture that was signed by Pervaiz Rashid, Federal Minister for Information and Dr. Khaled bin Mohamed Al-Attiyah, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Qatar.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the field of youth and sports was signed by Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada, Federal Minister for Inter Provincial Coordination and Dr. Khaled bin Mohamed Al-Attiyah, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Qatar.
Both the countries signed another MoU for First Executive Programme for cooperation in the fields of education, higher education and scientific research for the cultural, scientific, technical, educational and media cooperation agreement. The MoU was signed by Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada, Federal Minister for Inter Provincial Coordination and Dr. Khaled bin Mohamed Al-Attiyah, Minister of Qatar.
Later, the Prime Minister hosted a banquet in honour of the Emir which was attended by Cabinet Ministers, Services Chiefs, Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Chief Minister Sindh; Aitzaz Ahsan, Leader of Opposition in Senate; Raja Zafar ul Haq Leader of House in Senate, members of Qatari delegation along with senior government officials.