A number of Qatari companies have shown a keen interest in making huge investments in different promising sectors of the Pakistani economy.
This was revealed by a senior advisor to Pakistan’s Prime Minister in an interview with a Qatari News Agency. The investments may include acquiring equity stakes in the country’s main airports and power plants.
According to the report, the government of Pakistan has announced plans to privatise up to 30% equity stakes of several important airports of the country, including Karachi,
“As we are privatizing a lot of our assets, we have had meetings with the top officials of several prominent Qatari companies, including Sheikh Nawaf bin Nasser Al Thani (Chairman of Nasser Bin Khaled (NBK) Holding, and top officials of Qatar Investment Authority, in this regard. We are looking at our airports selling equity of it,” said Syed Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari, Minister of State, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis & HRD.
He further stated that, “We are working for a JV venture with The Roosevelt Hotel in New York. We are also looking to develop and enhance our tourism and hospitality sector with the Icon group coming to Pakistan and opening hotels and resorts.”
We have just privatized two of our energy terminals (including gas-fired power plants) and Qatar’s Nebras Power is probably bidding for it. In addition, there are a lot of projects in the pipeline that we are working to implement together with Qatar.
While, commenting on the airport modernizing program, he said that like many other developing countries, Pakistan’s government has also decided to commercialize nearly 20 to 30 percent of the country’s main airports.
“We have got an extremely positive response from the Qatari side. In fact, they have been very positive, and we have been a little bit slow in completing the paper works. So we are trying to move fast, and expecting Qatar to bid for them as well,” he said.
In addition tourism, energy and aviation, the commerce ministry is working to expand and deepen the bilateral collaboration in many other sectors, including the export of food, meat, livestock, and other agricultural products.
The report further stated that currently nearly 150,000 Pakistanis live and work in Qatar and remit about $400 million annually (2018) to the cash-strapped Pakistani economy. Pakistan has been working to secure more Qatari visas to provide doctors, engineers and other skilled manpower.
Commenting on the cooperation in the field of shariah-compliant banking and financial services, the minister noted that there is a “natural cohesion” in this sector. “We are coming up with several remittance models which are going to be sharia-compliant. We are also coming up with various Islamic products such as financing cars, houses, and other credit benefits, especially for the overseas Pakistanis,” he added.
On collaboration with regard to 2022 FIFA World Cup, he said that talks are already going on with the top officials of the Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC), and soon both sides are going to sign agreements to establish cooperation, including for providing security personnel, fast speed drivers, traffic management staff, and also footballs for the mega event.
In his concluding remarks, the minister reiterated: “The bilateral ties between Qatar and Pakistan are better than they have ever been for at least a last decade or so. The leaders from both countries have a brotherly relationship, to say the least. We are here to expedite bilateral cooperation, which is deepening and expanding in several areas, including tourism, construction, civil aviation, and energy.”