Islamabad, Pakistan – Pakistan’s prime minister has held talks with Qatar’s emir, signing agreements on trade, investment and tourism, according to statements from both governments.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan arrived in the Qatari capital Doha for a one-day visit on Thursday, accompanied by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and his advisors on petroleum and overseas citizens, a Pakistani foreign office statement said.
He met with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani following delegation-level talks between the two countries.
“[The two leaders] exchanged views on the existing excellent bilateral relations as well as regional and international issues of mutual concern,” said a Pakistani foreign ministry statement following the talks.
The talks focused on economic issues, investment and energy, a Qatari foreign ministry statement said.
Prime Minister Khan also lauded the Qatari government’s role in helping mediate between the United States and the Afghan Taliban. A historic peace agreement between the two parties is due to be signed in Doha on Saturday.
“Prime Minister Imran Khan reiterated Pakistan’s continued support for an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process,” said the Pakistani statement.
“The two leaders expressed the hope that all Afghan stakeholders would seize this historic opportunity to reach an inclusive political settlement for the establishment of durable peace and stability.”
Pakistani Foreign Minister Qureshi will attend the signing of the peace agreement, the foreign office said in a separate statement.
In addition, Khan briefed the Qatari leader on the situation in the disputed territory of Kashmir, where India revoked the special constitutional status of the portion it administers last August and has imposed strict security controls since then.
Pakistan and India claim Kashmir in full but administer separate portions of the mountainous territory, over which the two countries have fought two of their three wars.
Khan’s visit to Qatar comes after he hosted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the Pakistani capital Islamabad, and visited Malaysia for talks with then-Prime Minister Mahatir Mohamed earlier this month.
In Malaysia, Khan said he regretted not attending the Kuala Lumpur Summit, an event for Muslim leaders from around the world hosted by the Malaysian government.
Earlier, Pakistan’s foreign minister had said the country withdrew from the conference because of concerns expressed by the governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Both governments denied that charge.
Analysts say Pakistan’s engagement with the three countries – who have found themselves opposed to Saudi Arabia and the UAE on regional issues in the recent past – was about sending a signal.
“It does signal that Pakistan is looking to build relationships with countries apart from Saudi Arabia and others, but I don’t think that relationship is being built at the expense of Saudi and the UAE,” said Hassan Akbar, an Islamabad-based foreign policy analyst.
“In hindsight, maybe it was not a good decision not to go to the Kuala Lumpur Summit, and [Pakistani PM] Imran Khan is now personally reaching out to the countries that were involved in that summit and trying to assure them of Pakistan’s continued relationships with and support for those countries”
Asad Hashim is Al Jazeera’s digital correspondent in Pakistan. He tweets @AsadHashim.
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