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Economic cooperation with Qatar

Economic cooperation with Qatar

During his meeting with Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif in Doha, Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thanihas expressed his desire to invest in various fields of economy in Pakistan,including energy sector. According to newspaper reports,Sharif and Al Thanihave agreed to promote economic and trade cooperation between the two countries. The tiny Gulf emirate is an emerging economy, holding one of the biggest oil and gas reservoirs in Middle East and one of the largest per capita income in the world, and is deeply interested in cooperationwith Pakistan in agriculture, power and manpower sectors.

It is a good omen that the Qatari emirhimself is aware of the problem of power shortage in Pakistan and is ready to invest in this sector. Pakistan has the potential to become a leading economy in the region after it has signed $45 billion agreements with the Chinese government and various other development projects with Afghanistan and central Asian states. Pakistan and Qatar remained foreign to each other for many decades despite the fact that there are several areas of cooperation and common ground between the two countrieswhere they could have helped each other. However, the present government has taken initiative to import LNG from Qatar and enhance political relations with this important country in the region. According to unconfirmed reports, the Qatari government has banned the import of Pakistani manpower and the state is now saturated with Indian diaspora which is the largest foreign group, counting over 500,000 people, in a country of just 350,000 Qatari nationals. The Qatari investment in Pakistan is so far zero.However, the Qatar Investment Authority has shown its willingness to make a huge investment in various development projects in Pakistan, including in energy generation and gas supply sectors.A high-level Qatari delegationof Investment Authority is visiting Pakistan this month to look into investment opportunities. The Qatar Investment Authority has already launched various development projects in the Middle East and European countries.

It is unfortunate that the Pakistani leadership has so far failed to convince the Muslim world of its importanceand respect as a nuclear power and an emerging economy. The leadership will have to come out of the uncalled for inferiority complex and boldly present its stance to the friendly Muslim countries by offering them cooperation in the fields of security, technology and foreign affairs.

It should also be a point to ponder for the leadership in Pakistan that mere manpower export is not enough because it gives impetus to brain drain. The government should emphasize on the cooperation in the field of science and technology, besides offering the rich Islamic countries a space in specially designed industrial zones in the country.

The Punjab chief minister is taking initiatives for the development of the province and the chief ministers of other provinces should also strike economic deals with foreign investors. The development of one province is the development of the whole country and the democratic leaderships across the board have to take initiatives to change the lot of the nation.