By Mudassir Raja
The Speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan, Asad Qaiser, interacted with the Pakistani community here during a session held at the Embassy of Pakistan.
The speaker, along with nine other parliamentarians, is in Qatar to attend the 140th Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) Meeting that ends tomorrow. Asad Qaiser, who is associated with the ruling Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI), had expressed his interest in having an interactive session with his compatriots at the embassy during the visit.
Qaiser hails from the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and a large majority of Pakistani expatriates in Qatar also come from the same region. On the embassy premises, the members of the expatriate community were present in large numbers and listened to the visitor with keen interest.
Speaking on the occasion, he said: “I am very pleased to be here among my brothers. I have had a lot of political support from the Pakistani expatriates living in Qatar. The government considers overseas Pakistanis an asset for the country. All of you have been contributing a lot in the growth of the national economy.”
Highlighting the policies of his government regarding economic affairs, Qaiser said: “There is no doubt that our government has some challenges on the economic front. We have been in the government for just seven months. We have been taking the economy as our number one priority. The government has set its goals. In this regard, we want to have better ties with our neighbouring countries. Prime Minister Imran Khan has visited many friendly countries with a focus on trade and economy. He also visited Qatar a few weeks ago. We want to further consolidate our ties with the Islamic world. We have been trying to reach out to the Pakistani diasporas in different countries.”
The speaker said the government had been taking some hard decisions. “We are trying to put fewer burden on our people. We are endeavouring to utilise our own natural resources to boost the national economy. We are focusing on tourism, minerals, and agricultural products.”
The seasoned parliamentarian also shed some light on Pakistan’s relations with India and Afghanistan. “We have our outstanding issues but both the countries need to address these problems. We have opened Kartarpur Corridor, giving easy access to Indian Sikhs to their religious sites in Pakistan.
“As far as Afghanistan goes, we want that the people of our western neighbour should have the right to choose their leaders. We wish to see peace and stability in Afghanistan. Peace can help in making the whole region an economic hub. Prime Minister Imran Khan has the vision of making Landi Kotal, a tribal area bordering with Afghanistan, turn into a free economic zone. The prime minister recently visited and held a public gathering in the tribal area of Jamrud.”
The speaker further highlighted the economic diplomacy of his government. “In pursuit of this policy, we will seek our trade attaches to put in a lot of work in foreign missions. We need to bridge the gap between our imports and exports. For the expatriates living in Qatar, there is a huge opportunity to invest in Pakistan. I believe that Qatar can become a big opportunity for Pakistan. You all are ambassadors of your country here.”
Syed Ahsan Raza Shah, Ambassador of Pakistan to Qatar, has told me that our community has earned a lot of respect in Qatar. I have also felt the positive influence of the Pakistani community. You need to further cement your bond with Qatar. You need to go all out for the progress of both Qatar and Pakistan. Every individual here is very important.”
In his welcome speech, Syed Ahsan Raza Shah said: “The speaker, before his departure for Qatar, asked me that he would like to have an interactive session with the community. He has taken out time from his very busy schedule. I see our community here as one of the best Pakistani communities in the world. The speaker has placed the point of view of Pakistan on different international issues very well to the audience at IPU.”
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