Gilani On Multi-agenda Official Visit To Qatar

Islamabad: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani will brief the Qatar leadership about Pakistan’s talks with Afghanistan during a three-day official visit to Qatar, a country where the Taliban is to open a political office.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Abdul Basit said the prime minister will apprise the Qatari officials on Pakistan’s discussions with Afghan officials, reported Xinhua. 
The visit is aimed at strengthening ties with the Gulf state in multiple areas including import of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to meet the country’s energy demands, reported Associated Press of Pakistan from Doha. 
Dawn had earlier reported that with Doha getting ready to host a political office of the Taliban, Afghan reconciliation will be a major theme during Gilani’s visit to Qatar.
Qataris appear to be willing hosts for the proposed Taliban liaison office, which is expected to serve as a base for any talks between Kabul, militants and other stakeholders, the media report said.
”Afghanistan could be discussed, and certainly we too would be interested in being updated by the Qatari leaders on the contacts made so far and the progress towards setting up of the Taliban liaison office,” a senior diplomat was quoted as saying.
Gilani Monday left for Qatar on a three-day official visit, the Prime Minister office said. He is accompanied by Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Asim Hussain, Minister for Technical and Vocational Education Riaz Hussain Pirzada and lawmaker Muneer Aurakzai. 
This is the first visit to Qatar by a Pakistani prime minister after nine years. 
Gilani said he will talk to the Qatar leadership to explore opportunities in the field of energy especially import of LNG. He added that cooperation in other sectors like infrastructure, construction, hydrocarbon and exploring job opportunities for skilled labour will also be discussed. 
On the regional security situation, the prime minister reiterated the stance of his government to support Afghan-led and Afghan-owned initiatives for a stable Afghanistan. 
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Abdul Basit said the prime minister will also apprise the Qatari officials on Pakistan’s talks with Afghan officials.
Pakistan is interested in importing 500 million cubic feet per day of LNG from Qatar that produces 77 million tonnes per annum of LNG. The imported LNG will be initially provided to the power houses in the country to generate 2,500 megawatt electricity. 
During Gilani’s visit, the two governments are likely to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Pakistan’s Water and Power Development Authority and Qatar’s Ministry of Energy. 
The official said Gilani will take up the matter of absorbing Pakistani skilled labour in Qatar. The demand of two million work force is anticipated for Qatar’s various infrastructure projects for holding FIFA 2022 World Cup in Doha, he said. 
About 87,000 Pakistanis comprise 33 percent of the Qatar’s population. Pakistan’s exports to Qatar mainly comprise food and agriculture products dominated by rice and meat, while the imports are petrochemicals. The remittances from Qatar increased by $354 million in 2010 as compared to $339.51 million in 2009. 
-IANS



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