Look-Arab policy

AFTER a brief lull, government seems to have become active to restore ties with the Arab world especially Gulf countries to the same level of warmth as they had all along been. Misunderstanding crept in due to Pakistan’s policy of non-involvement in Yemen war due to internal and regional considerations and our rivals exploited the situation to their advantage in the absence of any effective damage control exercise by Pakistan.
In this backdrop, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s 2-day visit to Kuwait and Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa earlier visits to United Arab Emirates and most recently to Qatar assumed greater significance and it is satisfying that their outcome has been encouraging. The PM had detailed meetings with Amir of Kuwait and his counterpart on ways and means to promote bilateral relationship in different fields and his interaction has resulted into some concrete achievements. The brotherly country has agreed to lift a six-year-old ban on visas for Pakistani citizens, which would help remove a major hurdle for free movement of business community. Similarly, there are already over one hundred thousand Pakistanis working in Kuwait and Pakistan is in a position to provide technical manpower to help accelerate the process of developmental activities in that country. It is also appreciable that as a consequence of Army Chief’s exhaustive discussions with authorities in Qatar and UAE have helped beginning of a new era of mutually beneficial relationship. In fact, laxity of our leadership and Foreign Office provided India space to manoeuvre things to its favour at the cost of our national interests. We have been emphasising in these columns that given the regional and global environment, Pakistan must focus on Look-Arab policy as part of the strategy to address its fundamental economic and other concerns. The Gulf States have always been in the forefront to help Pakistan in economic field and there is no reason they would not be forthcoming now when there are enhanced opportunities for beneficial investment in the backdrop of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and government policy to build and improve country’s infrastructure.

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