Visiting Qatar at invitation of my brother H.H. Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad: PM Shehbaz

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Shehbaz FCA bills

Islamabad: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is set to embark on a two-day visit to Qatar today after he received an invitation from Qatar Amir of State, His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani.

This visit will be PM Shehbaz’s first visit to Qatar after assuming the PM office this year.

In a message posted on Twitter, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said that the visit “will renew the bond of friendship and brotherhood between the two countries”.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will be accompanied by a high-level delegation, including members of the federal cabinet.

“The visit will renew the bond of friendship and brotherhood between the two countries. We want to transform our historic bilateral ties into an even more effective strategic relationship,” the tweet read.

During the visit, the premier will hold in-depth consultations with the Qatari leadership. The two sides will review the entire spectrum of bilateral relations, with a particular focus on advancing energy-related cooperation, deepening trade and investment ties and exploring greater employment opportunities for Pakistanis in Qatar. They will also exchange views on a range of regional and international issues of mutual interest.

The premier will also meet the business community and inform them about the attractive investment opportunities in Pakistan, including renewable energy, food security, industrial and infrastructure development, tourism and hospitality.

PM Shehbaz said that it is important to understand the context of this visit because the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the course of the event and disrupted the supply and demand chain which subsequently resulted in a hike in energy and food prices.

“Common challenges require finding new ways to collaborate,” the PM said in the statement.

Pakistan to get $2bn from Qatar

Pakistan will receive $2 billion from Qatar in bilateral support to help ease the South Asian nation’s funding crunch and the consequent risk of a default, the central bank said on Monday.

The country will also get $1 billion in oil financing from Saudi Arabia and a similar amount in investments from the UAE. All the funds are expected over twelve months, Murtaza Syed, deputy governor at the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) said in a briefing. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is visiting Qatar on August 23 (today) and 24. “An announcement of the assistance may or may not be announced during the trip,” Syed said.

The pledges come before an International Monetary Fund (IMF) board meeting on August 29 that could lead to the release of $1.2 billion in financing. Arab nations had committed to supporting Pakistan only after it secured an IMF programme, while the Washington-based lender has been seeking a commitment from Saudi Arabia.

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