Islamabad: Pakistan and Qatar on Saturday inked three significant agreements, including the one sharing financial intelligence and checking money laundering and terror financing.
It is being viewed as an important development in the bilateral ties. The memorandums of understanding (MoUs) were signed in the presence of Prime Minister Imran Khan and visiting Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani at the Prime Minister’s House following the bilateral talks.
The Emir has arrived on a two-day official visit. The prime minister discussed bilateral relations with him.
Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani was given a red-carpet treatment and 21-gun salute on arrival at the Noor Khan airbase.
The route from Nur Khan Airbase to Red Zone Islamabad was adorned with the portraits of visiting guest as well as the flags of both countries.
The plane of Emir carried the flags of Pakistan and Qatar, reflecting the importance Qatar gives to its relations with Pakistan.
Prime Minister Imran Khan and senior ministers of his Cabinet received the Qatari Emir.
The prime minister drove his car from the airport to the Prime Minister’s House as a special gesture.
At the Prime Minister’s House following the one-on-one meeting, a delegation-level talks were held.
Later in a ceremony, Pakistan and Qatar signed three MoUs for cooperation in the fields of trade, investment, tourism and financial intelligence.
Adviser on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood and Qatari Finance Minister Ali Shareef Al Emadi signed the MoU for the establishment of Pakistan-Qatar joint working group on trade and investment.
Minister for Inter Provincial Coordination Dr Fahmida Mirza and Secretary General of Qatar National Tourism Council Akbar Al Baker agreed on cooperation in the fields of tourism and business events.
The third MoU relates to cooperation in the field of exchange of financial intelligence, anti-money laundering and to check terror financing.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said the visit would further strengthen the already good bilateral relations.
The Emir will hold talks with President Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan to discuss ways and means for building a robust and mutually-beneficial economic partnership.
In a statement early this week, Imran had observed that the Qatari Emir will announce an investment of $22 billion for Pakistan covering different sectors.
This comes as a second major investment in the country after the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced to invest $21 billion in Pakistan in three phases under its investment plan.
Al Thani had earlier visited Pakistan in March 2015. The delegation-level talks were held extensively.
Prime Minister Imran led the host side, while the Qatari side was headed by Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
Both the leaders covered the entire gamut of bilateral relations to enhance cooperation in diverse fields. It is understood that the two had discussed precarious situation and tension prevailing in the Gulf region, especially the standoff between Iran and the United States. Syria and Yemen situation were important subject of discussion.
The relations of Qatar with its neighbours, including Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (UAE), figured prominently in the talks since Pakistan had throughout been pleading for reduction of irritants in bilateral ties of the Muslim and especially Gulf countries which is viewed as Pakistan’s extended neighbourhood, the sources said.
Earlier, at the Prime Minister House, a smartly turned out contingent representing the army, the navy and the air force presented the Guard of Honor to the distinguished guest. The Emir of Qatar inspected the Guard of Honor.
National anthems of the two countries were also played on the occasion.
The prime minister introduced the distinguished guest to the members of cabinet and the federal ministers.
Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani planted a sapling at the lawn of the Prime Minister’s House as per tradition.
A JF-17 squadron of PAF saluted the guest in a magnificent fly past.
Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani is visiting Pakistan at the invitation of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
A high-level delegation, including ministers, is accompanying the Qatari Emir.