Pakistan, Qatar express resolve to strengthen relationship


Pakistan and Qatar have expressed their resolve to intensify cooperation in the fields of trade and commerce‚ energy‚ agriculture‚ infrastructure and investment.
An understanding was reached when Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari and Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani had a one-on-one meeting followed by talks between delegates in which the president was assisted by Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar‚ Petroleum and Natural Resources Advisor Dr Asim Hussain and Pakistan’s Ambassador to Qatar Muhammad Sarfraz Ahmad Khanzada.
The two sides discussed in detail current relations and agreed to upscale cooperation in various sectors for mutual advantage.
President Asif Ali Zardari emphasised the need to increase bilateral trade and hoped that the visit of business delegates may give boost to the trade between the two counties.
He said Pakistan would appreciate Qatar’s support for holding a third round of negotiations on Pak- Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Free Trade Agreement (FTA). He urged Qatar to lobby with other GCC countries to conclude the FTA as it would further concretize the ties between Pakistan and GCC countries.
The president said that at present only three Qatari companies were operating in Pakistan and invited more companies to establish offices there.
He said Pakistan will appreciate an early response to the memorandum of understanding (MoU), meant for financial assistance for the construction of national highway and motorway pending, from Qatar’s side.
He said Pakistan has a vibrant‚ stable and a mature financial market and many foreign banks are doing good business in the country. Welcoming Qatari banks to start operating in the country, he said that Qatari banks in Pakistan would act as a catalyst to further the bilateral economic cooperation.
The president said Pakistan had started a number of projects in order to meet the energy demand and welcomed Qatar’s participation in the Neelum-Jehlum hydro-power project. He expressed delight over the signing of an agreement between Qatar Gas and two Pakistan-based gas companies. He said Pakistan’s petroleum exploration and production policy of 2012 was very enticing and invited Qatari petroleum and gas companies to take advantage of the new policy and invest in oil and gas exploration and production.