Gilani arrives in Qatar Monday

February 6th, 2012 - 12:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Yousuf Raza Gilani Islamabad, Feb 6 (IANS) Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani begins Monday a three-day official visit to Qatar, a country from which Pakistan wants to import gas to feed its power generation units.

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.

Gilani will also discuss with the Qatari leadership the issue of finalisation of transnational formalities to import LNG at the earliest, said a Foreign Office official.

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.

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.

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