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Qatar, Pakistan discuss military cooperation

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Chief of Staff of Qatari Armed Forces Ghanem bin Shaheen al-Ghanim hosted on Monday the Chief of Staff of Pakistani Air Force Mujahid Anwar Khan in Doha to discuss ways of strengthening military cooperation between the two countries.

In a statement by Qatar’s Defense Ministry, the two military chiefs discussed reviewing military cooperation relations and “means of strengthening and developing them.” It added that a number of senior officers from both sides were also in attendance. The statement gave no further details of the meeting.

In February, the Qatari Air Force carried out a joint military exercise with the Pakistan Air Force in Doha. Both countries enjoy strong military relations, having signed a number of agreements and memoranda of understanding to bolster military cooperation including the agreement on the assignment of Pakistani forces to Qatar in 1985 and defense cooperation in 2010.

Pak-Qatar Relations under Premier Imran’s Leadership

Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, was in Pakistan for a brief one-day visit in the third week of June 2019. Emir, and his delegation, arrived in the evening of Friday 22, he was personally received, at Noor Khan airbase, (known to residents of Islamabad as the old airport) by Imran Khan, Pakistan’s premier, who personally drove him to Prime Minister’s house in Islamabad where a one on one meeting took place between the Emir and the Prime Minister of Pakistan.

During the visit, Qatar announced keeping $3 billion in the State Bank of Pakistan to support the country’s balance of payments. Three memoranda of understanding (MoU) were signed on Saturday, between Qatar and Pakistan, in trade and investment, tourism and business events, and exchange of financial intelligence and then Emir left in the early afternoon of June 23.

Read more: Qatari Emir to land in Pakistan today: What to expect from the visit?

In January, Imran Khan, Pakistan’s Prime Minister was in Qatar on a two-day visit at the invitation of the country’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Finance Minister Asad Umar, Petroleum Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan, Adviser to PM Abdul Razak Dawood, Syed Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari, and Board of Investment Chairman Haroon Sharif and Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua accompanied him.

Upon their arrival, the delegation was received by Qatar’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Soltan bin Saad al-Muraikhi at the airport. Khan met the Qatari Prime Minister but he also met Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hammad and amongst other issues export of skilled labor to Qatar was discussed which shows the priority Islamabad attached to the issue – and which makes it so important to understand the economic impact of FIFA World Cup 2022 on the region.

In December 2018, Qatar had already opened a visa facilitation center in Islamabad for swift processing of visas of members of the Pakistan workforce wishing to work in Qatar.

Read more: Qatar reaffirms its commitment to invest in Pakistan

Doha has also promised 100,000 jobs for Pakistani workers, and the government is in talks with the Qatari government to adjust skilled members of the labor force returning from Saudi Arabia. Observers and policy experts on Gulf economies (like Author, Mehran Kamrava, ‘Qatar: Small State, Big Politics’) believe that workers from India and Pakistan suit employers and contractors because they are not part of the political currents of the region – unlike the workers from Egypt, Yemen or Morocco. However, the big issue Pakistan faces is that it does not have enough skilled labor to fill these positions.

Anadolu with additional input by GVS News Desk

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