Doha (UNA-OIC) – Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s visit to Qatar, which he started on Tuesday, comes as part of the two countries’ efforts to strengthen their relations at various political and economic levels.
The State of Qatar and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan have close and prosperous historical relations based on mutual trust and respect.
These wide-ranging and multifaceted relations are covering various fields, and there is permanent coordination between them within the framework of international forums and meetings. Qatar and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan are bound with common visions and goals regarding the principles of peace, security and stability in the world, Pakistan has supported the Qatari mediation efforts in Afghanistan, and the two countries have a common vision for a stable and prosperous Afghanistan.
Relations between the two brotherly countries have been strengthened through mutual visits between them at the highest levels, the most prominent of which was in recent years, the two visits of HH the Amir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in March 2015 and in June 2019, and three visits to Doha paid by the former Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Imran Khan; two in 2019 and a third in February 2020.
Qatari-Pakistani relations have gone through three main stages; the first started with the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1973 and until 1999, during which the two countries worked to explore possibilities and opportunities for cooperation between them in various fields.
The visit of HH the Father Amir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani to Pakistan in 1999 marked the beginning of the second phase of bilateral relations, as it laid the foundations that strengthened and developed the ties between the two brotherly countries over time. During that visit, agreements covering areas of economic and political cooperation served as a new era of relations between Doha and Islamabad.
As for the third phase, it started with the visit of HH the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, to Pakistan in 2015. It was a successful and fruitful visit that led to the strengthening and development of bilateral relations and their transfer to various new horizons, especially in the field of economy and energy.
The Qatari-Pakistani relations are currently going through their best stages, since the last visit of HH the Amir to Islamabad in 2019, which is viewed as the culmination of an exceptional and distinguished stage during the bilateral cooperation relations between the two countries.
Following this visit, HH the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani issued a directive to support the Pakistani economy with USD 3 billion in the form of deposits and direct investments, confirming the strength of bilateral relations and expressing the confidence of the State of Qatar in the strength and power of the economy of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
In a major turning point in the course of the economic partnership between the two countries, Qatar Petroleum signed in February 2021 a long-term ten-year agreement with the Pakistan State Oil Company to supply the Islamic Republic of Pakistan with up to three million tons per year of liquefied natural gas.
The agreement is the second of its kind between the two sides. In 2016, Qatargas signed a long-term agreement to supply liquefied natural gas to the Pakistan State Oil Company, according to which it will supply 3.75 million tons annually of liquefied natural gas, which raises the total volumes of liquefied natural gas from Qatar to Pakistan to 6.75 million tons annually.
In the context of the development of economic relations between the two brotherly countries, the direct shipping line between them, which was inaugurated in 2017 to connect Hamad Port with Karachi Port, contributed to the increase in the volume of trade exchange between the two countries, which grew by 63 percent to reach about QR 9.5 billion in 2018, compared to QR 5.8 billion in 2017, This makes the Republic of Pakistan one of the most important trading partners of the State of Qatar, and about 1,400 joint companies are operating in the Qatari market in various fields.
The State of Qatar also hosts 7 companies with 100 percent Pakistani capital.
Pakistan is an attractive investment destination, especially in the field of banking, insurance, tourism, information and communication technology, oil and gas, energy, and agriculture. To benefit from the economic corridor projects between Pakistan and China by investing in them.
There are many Qatari investments in Pakistan in important sectors such as agriculture, information, and communication technology and the financial sector, Insurance, and real estate, along with others.
Pakistan is the largest beneficiary of Qatar’s initiative to educate ten million out-of-school children around the world, as the State of Qatar supported the Federal Ministry of Education and Vocational Training to launch a program to educate one million out-of-school children in Pakistan, under an agreement signed in 2018.
The Lives and Livelihoods Fund, which was chaired by the Qatar Fund for Development during the period 2019-2020, financed the project “supportive of the National Program for Polio Eradication for the period 2019-2022.” Which aims to help the Pakistani government improve the situation of 39.2 million children under five years of age.
On the first day of his state visit to Qatar, Pakistan’ PM Shehbaz Sharif held a meeting with Qatar Prime Minister and Minister of Interior HH Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al-Thani.
During the meeting, they reviewed bilateral relations between the two countries and ways to strengthen and develop them in various fields of joint cooperation, in addition to the most prominent issues of mutual interest.
Pakistan’s PM also attended the “Pakistan-Qatar Trade and Investment Roundtable 2022″ which was held on Tuesday evening in the presence of HE Minister of Finance Ali bin Ahmed Al Kuwari, HE Undersecretary of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry Sultan bin Rashid Al Khater, Chief Executive Officer of Qatar Financial Centre Yousuf Mohamed Al Jaida, along with an array of Qatari and Pakistani business leaders.
In his speech during the roundtable Shehbaz Sharif described the relations between his country and the State of Qatar as “unique”, calling on Qatari investors to intensively carry out investment projects in Pakistan.
He underscored his country’s entire support for the Qatari investors in deepening their presence in Pakistan, including the firm commitment of his government to provide friendly environment for businesses and investments, pointing out that Pakistan embraces enormous natural and human resources, and that the geographical location of Pakistan enabled it to remain the primary conduit for trade, energy, and transport in the region.