Sayed Zulfikar Abbas Bukhari, the visiting Minister of State, Special Assistant to Pakistan’s Prime Minister (Imran Khan), yesterday noted that the bilateral relation between Qatar and Pakistan is expected to see a major boost in the coming years as both sides are working closely and aggressively to expand and deepen the level of cooperation in several areas.
According to Minister Bukhari, who is also in charge of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development, both sides are giving special focus to boost ties in the field of labor affairs, security, tourism, energy, aviation, food and agriculture among others. The economic and trade ties between the two friendly countries have already witnessed unprecedented growth over the last couple of years, especially in the field of trade, commerce, and labor affairs, registering steady and double-digit growth.
“Over the last 16 months, the bilateral relations between Qatar and Pakistan have seen unprecedented growth and great success in several areas. For instance, in the field of manpower, more than 40,000 Pakistanis, including doctors, engineers, and other skilled and semi-skilled workers were able to migrate to Doha to contribute to different sectors of the booming Qatari economy. Things have become much easier after several initiatives, such as the opening of Qatar Visa Centres (QVC) in Karachi and Islamabad,” Minister Bukhari said in his address at a meeting with prominent Qatari businesses and manpower agencies.
He added: “We are also talking with Qatar to open two more QVCs in Lahore and Peshawar — home to a significant number of manpower. The new visa centers will help reduce the migration cost significantly and also expedite the process. We are also taking a lot of other initiatives on our part to make the process much easier. We have such a great relationship Qatar and we need to optimize on this.”
The minister also noted Pakistani government has been providing pre-departure trainings to the workers on different aspects of life, and the 82,000 people who have taken jobs in Qatar over the last couple of years were also briefed about the various aspects of life in Qatar and the local rules. They were also briefed for using only the legal channels to remit money from Doha to their home country.
Kashif Ahmed, Director General for Pakistani Overseas Employment Affairs department, provided a presentation highlighting the various details about Pakistan’s human resources.
He said that the country with a population of more than 207 million, some 60 percent of them belong to the working-age group. Pakistan produces more than 400,000 graduates, of them, 42 percent are highly qualified and 42.5 percent are skilled workers, and the Gulf countries are their most favorite destinations.
Ahmed also noted that the upcoming two additional visa centers in other provinces of Pakistan will be of great help in terms of improving efficiency to recruit suitable workers who will take up jobs in Qatar, especially in projects for the preparations of the 2022 Fifa World Cup.
“The initiatives taken with regard to recruitment are proving to be highly beneficial. They are not only helpful to reduce the migration cost and leg work, but also protecting labor rights. There is a great potential and we should optimize on that,” he said.
The total trade volume between Qatar and Pakistan reached QR9.5bn ($2.61bn) in 2018 registering a remarkable growth of about 64 percent compared to QR5.80bn ($1.59bn) in 2017. The combined value of two-way trade exchange between the two countries during the first six months of this year reached QR3.89bn ($1.07bn).