Qatar extends generous support to Pakistan for relief, rehabilitation of flood-affected people


Ambassador Al-Thani briefs media about positive outcome of PM Sharif’s visit to Qatar

Zubair Qureshi

Ambassador of Qatar Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman Al Thani on Monday while talking to journalists at a media briefing said all the three relief bodies of Qatar—Qatar Charity, Qatar Red Crescent and Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD)— mobilized their teams as well as resources to provide relief to the people in Balochistan, Southern Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) immediately after the floods that had caught them unawares.

Qatar has already sent three special planes of relief goods and equipment for the devastated communities and “We stand by our Pakistani brothers and sisters in this hour of difficulty,” he said.

“I am visiting Sindh’s flood-hit areas on Thursday and will observe the situation on ground and relief activities by the Qatari and the Pakistani rescue teams and medical staff, ‘’ the ambassador said.

The floods hit Pakistan almost suddenly and everybody was alarmed at their scale and intensity, said the ambassador adding it also demonstrated how climate change has cast its impact on the entire region.

Our relief agency Qatar Charity that has its presence in Balochistan came into action the very next day and we had to take help from the Pakistani army as roads were swept away and it was almost impossible to access the flood-hit areas, he said.

Besides the above-mentioned three Qatari relief bodies, the Ministry of Interior of Qatar in alliance with the UN is also taking part in the relief operation, he said.

The ambassador said the first stage of rescue is followed by relief and rehabilitation which is equally crucial.

In this regard, a big delegation of the Qatari medics, experts and rescuers is on its way to make sure food and medicines supply is not obstructed and shelter is provided to each affected family. About last month’s official visit of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to Qatar, the ambassador said it was though planned on a ‘short’ notice yet its outcome was quite large and long-lasting.

“Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and H.E. Prime Minister of Pakistan Shehbaz Sharif held dialogues on diverse subjects ranging from investment to business-to-business and people-to-people relations and it was agreed that Qatar would do US$3 billion investment in Pakistan in energy and infrastructure sectors,” he said.

The ambassador particularly mentioned the Sharif family’s cordial relations with the Qatari leadership and said both sides have deep regard for each other. He also mentioned Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa whose presence in the dialogues further demonstrated that both countries had deep relations in civilian and military areas.

The Pakistan Army has been training the Qatar forces since the 1970s and our officers and pilots have great respect for them, said the ambassador adding he himself has been a pilot officer and his instructor was a Pakistani air force officer.

Ambassador AL-Thani said the government of Qatar was planning to invest in various sectors of Pakistan especially in energy, trade and businesses for further strengthening the bilateral economic ties between both of the countries. It was also decided in the meeting that Qatar would provide jobs to 100,000 more Pakistanis and this number will be added to the current 210,000 Pakistanis already working there.

For the visa facilitation of this large number, we are opening visa centres in Peshawar and Lahore.

An important development is that the Qatari government has decided to sign agreements with the contractors directly prior to their departure so that they could leave without any difficulty, he said.

About the upcoming Football World Cup in Doha, the ambassador said it was going to be one of the historic events.

We are making state-of-the-art arrangements and the stadium where the final match will be played has a capacity of 80,000 fans which is quite unheard of so far. Special transport, metro will be running for the football fans from one stadium to the other.

The first match will be played on November 20t this year while the final match will be played on Dec 18 which is also Qatar’s National Day.

We are excited to make it a huge success, he said adding during the visit of Shehbaz Sharif it was decided that 2,500 personnel of the Pakistani Armed Forces would be deployed on security during the world cup fixtures. Unlike other countries’ security forces, Pakistan’s military crew will not return after one month, rather they will stay there for next five years, he said.


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