Green passport will one day bring honour to you, PM Khan tells Pakistanis in Doha
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday assured overseas Pakistanis that the country's green passport will soon bring them honour around the world.
The premier was addressing a gathering of Qatar's Pakistani diaspora at a stadium in Doha on the conclusion of his two-day visit to the wealthy Gulf nation.
Khan expressed the confidence that Pakistan would earn sufficient money from the tourism sector in the coming days that would eliminate its need to borrow dollars from other countries.
"Malaysia makes $20 billion from beach tourism [while] our total trade is worth $24bn," he said, adding that Turkey also makes $40bn from tourism. He reminded the audience that Pakistan has historic sites like Mohenjo Daro as well as some of the oldest cities, including Peshawar, Lahore, and Multan.
He said the scenic mountains of the country are considered the best in the world. The holiest sites of the Sikh religion and holy sites of Hinduism and Buddhism are also found in Pakistan, he added.
Terming expatriate Pakistanis "heroes", he said the country was standing due to their remittances. "And those who thieve money from the country and send it abroad are the villains of the country. Do you know who are they? I have declared a war against them," he added.
"Our rupee is devalued because we don't have enough dollars," the prime minister said, adding that corrupt people stole money from the country, purchased dollars from the ill-gotten money and laundered it abroad.
"Let me explain to you the situation [I inherited] in cricketing terms," he told the audience. "Suppose that when I went for batting, we had already four batsmen out against only 20 runs ... as you know I know how to play under pressure [so] our partnership has now started to yield — Miandad and Khan are now standing on the crease."
"A time is coming when you will not need to go abroad in search of jobs," the premier promised. He said there was a special blessing of God on Pakistan, where "there is no shortage of anything".
Citing the examples of Qatar and several African countries with natural resources, he reminded the expats that a country does not become rich because of money, but because of "good governance". He said certain African countries remain poor despite having minerals and gems because of their governments, but Qatar owes its wealthiness to its capable leadership.
He quoted Qatari businessmen as saying that although they were willing to invest in Pakistan, they could not do so because of corruption and a complex system of taxation.
Prime Minister Khan said the government has already reduced the number of taxes from 36 to 16. He claimed that his was the first government in the country's history which has been in office for six months "but no scandal of corruption has emerged".
PM Khan meets Qatari emir
Earlier on Tuesday, Prime Minister Khan met the Qatari emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, at the Diwan-i-Amiri in Doha.
A red carpet was rolled out to welcome the premier at the Amiri Diwan where a formal ceremony was held in his honour. Khan was presented with a guard of honour by a smartly turned out contingent of the Qatari Amiri Guards, and the national anthems of both countries were played on the occasion.
A one-on-one meeting was held between Khan and Sheikh Tamim, Radio Pakistan reported. Both sides discussed the entire spectrum of bilateral ties, and regional and international matters of mutual interest. The two sides also held delegation-level talks.
The prime minister had flown to Doha on Monday at the invitation of the Qatari emir. He is accompanied by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Finance Minister Asad Umar, Petroleum Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan, Adviser to the PM Abdul Razak Dawood, Special Assistant Zulfikar Bukhari, Board of Investment (BOI) Chairman Haroon Sharif and chairperson of the task force on energy Nadeem Babar.
Prime Minister Khan had yesterday discussed bilateral relations with a focus on economic cooperation in a meeting with the Qatari premier and interior minister, Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani.
LNG contract with Qatar
Changing its long-standing position, the government has decided to request Qatar for a reduction in the price of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and its supplies on delayed payments under the existing 15-year supply contract.
The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) has been criticising the contracts signed by the previous PML-N government for the import of LNG from Qatar at a price equivalent to 13.39 per cent of the international benchmark crude oil price, and two terminals set up by the private sector for re-gasifying imported LNG.
Petroleum minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan said that the government would abide by the 15-year agreement with Qatar and another 10-year contract with another supplier that became the basis of the final LNG price with Qatar.
Pakistan’s LNG import bill roughly comes to about $4bn per annum.
It has been learnt that the government is working on comprehensive energy policy to meet energy requirements with the cooperation of countries like UAE, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Qatar with huge gas reserves.