IT is really heartening to see Pakistan and Gulf Council Cooperation (GCC) coming closer to each other to promote cooperation in the field of economy, which by all means will be a win-win situation for both the sides.
The visit of GCC Secretary General Dr Nayeb Falah Mubarak to Pakistan on Wednesday soon after the extra-ordinary session of the OIC Foreign Ministers held in the federal capital last month really indicates the interest of the Gulf countries in Pakistan.
Though both the sides share strong bonds and historic relations deep rooted in common faith, culture and values, yet it is the first time a serious effort is being seen to promote and strengthen the economic relations.
The outcome of the delegation level talks between Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and the GCC Secretary General is really positive and a step forward as both sides agreed to finalize a joint action plan for strategic dialogue 2022-26 to promote cooperation in diverse fields including security, trade, investment, agriculture, food security, energy, environment protection, health, culture and education.
Later talking to the media men, the Foreign Minister also stated that trade cooperation between Pakistan and the GCC will soon be finalized.
The GCC member countries undoubtedly have made tremendous progress over the last two decades or so and greatly diversified their economies in order to reduce dependence on oil exports.
This is the reason that their economies fared better even when the oil prices collapsed because of lockdowns in the wake of Covid-19.
Pakistan with a huge youth bulge and vast land offers immense opportunities to these countries for investment in different sectors especially the agriculture to ensure their food security.
With enhanced engagement at different levels, the action plan on strategic dialogue should be finalized without any delay and it should clearly chart out a roadmap of cooperation and the areas in which both the sides can benefit from each other’s experience.
Since Pakistan is getting almost fifty percent of remittances from this region, the action plan should also focus on further exploiting job opportunities for our youths in the GCC.
Then, the finalisation of free trade agreement will amount to writing a new chapter in the relationship.
Time has come to transform the strong fraternal bonds between Pakistan and the Gulf countries into a mutually beneficial strong economic partnership.
This will also help bring their peoples further close to each other.