ISLAMABAD - Pakistan and Qatar Friday discussed Liquefied Natural Gas deal between the two countries signed by the previous Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) led government as Islamabad prepares to ‘renegotiate’ the agreement.

Sheikh Mohammad Bin Abdul Rahman Al Thani, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Qatar, held meetings with Prime Minister Imran Khan and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi during his one-day visit to Pakistan.

Officials told The Nation that the two countries will try to find the best way out on the LNG deal . “More talks will be held. There is no confusion so far,” said one official.

Another official said the two sides will hold more talks to settle the LNG issue. “The government cannot afford to annoy Qatar. There will be a decision with consultations,” he added.

Earlier, Petroleum Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan said the cabinet had decided to renegotiate agreements of the two LNG terminals installed by the PML-N government with the parties concerned due to high return on equity.

He said the return on equity in the agreement signed with Engro Company was 44 per cent, which is double to the market rate, implying some under hand deal. He said the return rate in the other terminal was 22 per cent. Khan said the LNG terminal agreements and LNG import deal with Qatar have brought the economy under stress. 

Reports said the Federal Investigation Agency and National Accountability Bureau are examining the LNG deal . If the FIA and NAB uncover some flaws, the government will take it as an evidence to renegotiate the deal with Qatar.

An official statement said the Qatari minister conveyed felicitations and best wishes of Amir of Qatar, on PM Khan’s election. He conveyed the keen desire of the Amir to work with the new leadership in Pakistan, for further strengthening close and cordial relations between Pakistan and Qatar, said an official statement.

The Prime Minister reciprocated by underlining the commitment of his government to build mutually beneficial relations with Qatar, for the benefit of the two peoples.

Referring to increase in Pakistan’s exports to Qatar, he hoped that bilateral trade will further expand in the coming years. He invited Qatari investment in all sectors of Pakistan’s economy, especially in agriculture, livestock and energy.

The Prime Minister also expressed the hope for early implementation of Qatar’s decision to import 100,000 workers from Pakistan.

Mohammad Bin Abdul Rahman Al Thani assured Imran Khan of the full support and cooperation of the government of Qatar in attaining the dream of a progressive, prosperous and forward looking Pakistan. The Prime Minister conveyed his best wishes for the continued peace, progress and prosperity of the State of Qatar, under the leadership of Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.

The Qatari Foreign Minister also held a meeting with Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi. Officials said issues of ‘mutual interest’ were discussed during the meeting. The two sides agreed to further strengthen to existing friendly ties.

Foreign Minister Qureshi underscored the importance of relationship between Pakistan and Qatar. Discussing bilateral, political and economic relations between the two countries, the ministers decided to hold the next JMC in December this year.

It was also agreed to hold Bilateral Political Consultations at the same time. He highlighted the huge potential for bilateral cooperation in energy, petroleum and petrochemical, agriculture and livestock sectors.

Recalling his meeting with Sheikh Mohammad Bin Abdul Rahman Al Thani in New York on the side-lines of the United Nations General Assembly last month, the Foreign Minister reiterated his request for fast tracking the recruitment process for import of more Pakistani workers by Qatar. He offered the services of professional Pakistani workforce for 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

 

PLUNDER BY PREVIOUS GOVTS WAS UNPRECEDENTED: PM

 

APP adds: Prime Minister Imran said the nation was bearing the brunt of the misdeeds and wrong policies of the previous rulers, who had plundered the country and treated it even worse than any enemy.

In a meeting with a delegation of business community headed by Chairman United Business Group and Senior Vice President SAARC Chamber of Commerce Iftikhar Ali Malik, held at the PM Office on Friday, the prime minister said, one could judge the volume of corruption by the fact that the amounts worth billions of rupees were being discovered from the bank accounts of handcart pullers, vendors, and even those who had died.

The delegation of the businessmen handed over a cheque to the prime minister worth Rs 91.9 million for the Supreme Court and Prime Minister Fund for Diamer Bhasha and Mohmand Dams.

Among those who presented the cheque included the representatives and officebearers of Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Rawalpindi, Sarhad, Islamabad, Faisalabad, Sialkot and Lahore chambers of commerce and industries, Sialkot International Airport, Orient Electronics, Korangi Association, Guard Group, Muhammad Arif Yousuf Jeewa, Engineer Haji Daru, Deen Group and Sitara Group.

The business delegation assured the prime minister of their support to help succeed his endeavour for New Pakistan besides steering the country out of tough economic conditions.

He told the businessmen that the country was going through difficult economic situation as the previous governments not only overburdened the country with excessive debts besides spoiling the institutions. He said currently the institutions like Steel Mills, PIA and Pakistan Railways were facing losses worth billions.

Imran said the country had no dearth of resources but the plunder by the previous governments was unprecedented. He said no doubt the country faced a tough situation; however, he was confident of the capabilities of the Pakistani nation which would rid the country of prevailing situation.

He said some of the sectors in Pakistan had the capability to bring in the revenue of billions of dollars. The economic issues could be tackled if the government succeeds to curb money laundering and ensure the transaction of remittances through legal means, he added.

He said the government was resolved to take along the business community besides extending all-out cooperation to them to help continue the economic process.

 

 

Qatari FM discusses LNG deal with Imran