DOHA: Prime Minister Imran Khan and Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani inspect a guard of honour at Diwan-i-Emiri on Thursday.—APP
DOHA: Prime Minister Imran Khan and Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani inspect a guard of honour at Diwan-i-Emiri on Thursday.—APP

ISLAMABAD: Two days prior to the US-Taliban peace deal to be inked in Qatar, Prime Minister Imran Khan paid a daylong visit to the country’s capital Doha where he met top Qatari leadership and returned home the same day.

According to the Prime Minister Office, Mr Khan during his meeting with Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani on Thursday reiterated Pakis­tan’s continued support for an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process.

Prime Minister Khan appreciated Qatar’s valuable role leading to the US-Taliban peace agreement due to be signed on Saturday (tomorrow).

The two leaders expres­sed the hope that all Afghan stakeholders would seize this historic opportunity to reach an inclusive political settlement for the establishment of durable peace and stability in Afghanistan.

During the visit, the prime minister was accompanied by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development Syed Zulfikar Abbas Bukhari, SAPM on Petroleum Nadeem Babar and senior officials.

Delegation-level talks were followed by a tete-a-tete between the two leaders. They exchanged views on the excellent bilateral ties as well as regional and international issues of mutual concern.

The premier and the Qatari emir reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen the robust political and economic partnership between the two brotherly countries.

The two sides agreed to enhance economic cooperation, especially in the energy sector. It was also agreed to immediately activate the bilateral Joint Working Group on Commerce and Investment as well as memorandum of understanding on cooperation in the fields of tourism and business events.

According to the PMO, Mr Khan briefed the emir on the continuing grave human rights violations in India-held Jammu & Kashmir under the RSS-inspired BJP government. He expressed deep concern over the ongoing anti-Muslim riots in India which have been precipitated by the Hindutva-inspired ideology of the current Indian government.

Earlier, the Foreign Office spokesperson said that the focus of the visit would be on strengthening bilateral cooperation and exchanging views on regional developments.

Pakistan and Qatar enjoy close, cordial ties based on mutual trust and understanding. The bilateral relationship is broad based and multifaceted, covering diverse fields including political, trade, commercial, defence, people-to-people contacts and cultural exchanges.

On his arrival at the airport, the prime minister was received by Qatar’s Energy Minister Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi. The visit takes place two days before the US-Taliban peace deal signing ceremony scheduled to be held in Doha.

It was the second visit of the prime minister to Qatar after taking office. The emir of Qatar visited Pakistan in June last year. The visit resulted in strengthening of bilateral economic collaboration in diverse areas. It is believed that the prime minister’s visit will reinforce this process.

During his last visit to Qatar, the prime minister had also discussed with the Qatar leadership the matter of exporting workers to the country.

In December last year, Qatar opened a facilitation centre in Islamabad for swift processing of visas of Pakistani citizens wishing to work in Qatar.

Published in Dawn, February 28th, 2020