Ambassador Thani says entire ME, Muslim world feel honored to host FIFA World Cup 2022
Zubair Qureshi Islamabad
The FIFA World Cup 2022—the biggest sporting event in the global calendar—is starting from Sunday, November 19, in Qatar and according to Ambassador of Qatar Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, the one-month event is going to make a huge positive impact on the entire region.
While briefing the media persons on Thursday about the mega sporting event, Ambassador Thani was all praise for the leadership for supporting the Qatari government to make the event a huge success.
Qatar’s leadership, the government and the people of Qatar are thankful to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and the military leadership of the country for extending support to Qatar during this historic moment through 2,500 personnel to perform security duties during the World Cup matches, said the ambassador.
Besides the security force, skilled labourers and the highly qualified professionals from Pakistan, are also contributing to the economic development and social uplift of the Qatari society, said the ambassador adding, currently more than 200,000 Pakistani workers are present in Qatar engaged in various projects.
In view of their competence and professionalism, the government of Qatar has decided to enhance the number by 100,000 in the next year, he added.
Ambassador Thani spoke on a variety of subjects ranging from military-to-military cooperation to Qatar’s support to Pakistan’s energy, infrastructure sectors and held Qatar valued its relations with Pakistan and considered the country a close, trustworthy friend.
Qatar is interested in developing Pakistan’s airports, setting up fuel terminals at seaports, acquiring LNG plants, and investing in solar parks and during the recent visit of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to Qatar, Qatar announced to make an investment in Pakistan worth US$3 billion.
This would help cash-strapped Pakistan cope with the mounting economic challenges and recover from recession in the wake of the worst natural disaster of flash floods in the history of the country.
Qatar was among the countries which immediately responded to Pakistan’s call for help two months ago when floods hit the country and sent medical and humanitarian assistance through C-17 aircraft.
Qatar’s teams of medics and rescuers also remained busy in the flood-hit areas. Recently, Qatar has acted proactively on the international front and helped the major world powers hold dialogue with the Taliban.
The Qatari Ambassador said dialogue between the US, its allies and Taliban on the Qatari soil was a big achievement and demonstrated Qatar’s desire for peace, security and stability in the world.
We are also engaging Iran to enter dialogue with the US and the EU because we have had enough of conflicts.
We have seen what happened in Yemen, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan and Iraq and it is better we should listen to each other’s point of view and create some space for difference of opinion, he said.
The ambassador said the government of Qatar had made extraordinary arrangements for the upcoming football event.
There are countless rail, bus services taking the fans from one stadium to the other and that too without any charges.
In fact we were ready one year before the start of the event and have done too many rehearsals in the meanwhile, he said.
To a question, he said, hundreds and thousands of spectators are expected to arrive in Qatar—majority are already there—and the Qatari government, keeping in view a huge influx from around the world, has already made adequate arrangements for their stay, transport and food.
Hopefully, everything will go as per plan till the last day i.e. December 18 when the final match will be played, he said.
The ambassador said Qatar has introduced labour reforms in the country and the labourers were enjoying all benefits such as wages as per international standards, job security, social cover, etc.
In fact, we have been the first in the region to recognize the labourers’ rights and today, a worker who feels exploited can sue his/her employer and get justice from the court, he said.
He dismissed reports of exploitation saying, “This is nothing but a pack of lies. Our labour laws are internationally recognized and have no room for any exploitation,” he said.