By Mudassir Raja
Shehryar Khan Afridi, the Minister of State for States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON) and Narcotics Control Pakistan, recently addressed a large gathering of Pakistani community in Doha at a dinner, hosted in his honour by prominent members of the community. The dinner was attended by notable personalities of Pakistani community, including Abdul Qahar, Abid Ali, Mohammad Hussain, Kamran Taraqei, Ikram Bungesh, Aiysha Wadood, Saeed Bacha, Musa Alam, Muhammad Sheikh, and Asif Riaz.
Speaking on the occasion, the minister said that the expatriates living and working in Qatar are particularly very dear to the government back home.
“The current government in Pakistan enjoys friendly and cordial ties with Qatar. Whenever I come here, I have always been received with unparalleled hospitality by the Qatar government. I believe this is the respect duly earned by the dedication and hard work of the Pakistanis here,” added the minister who is on a short visit to Qatar.
The minister urged the community to abide by the laws of the country where they work. “Qatar has given incalculable opportunities. It is a home away from home for you all. It is binding on you to continue working hard and following the rules and regulations of the country. There are many Pakistanis who I know have made their fortune in Qatar. They share with me how they were welcomed with open arms here and how they were facilitated in their businesses. They say that they get due result for their hard work here. You have to pay back both to Pakistan and Qatar. In my meeting with the law and order authorities in Qatar, the authorities appreciated the role of Pakistani expatriate community. The number of Pakistanis working in different Gulf states is growing steadily and the government has been pushing this cause very closely.
“The Pakistani diaspora in the world has not only been the source of financial support to their country, but have also been promoting the cause of Pakistan in foreign lands.”
The Pakistani federal minister underlined the continuous co-operation with Qatar in different fields. “The two countries are very close to each other and have been co-operating in different fields. My ministry deals with narcotics control. We are also working with the Qatari authorities in curbing the drug trafficking and narcotics control. Qatar has appreciated our government’s steps in this direction.”
He added, “We have created a mobile app called Zindagi (life) to raise awareness against the drug abuse and teach parents how to watch out for their children. My ministry has already compiled relevant data to combat drug trafficking and we work together with other countries.”
The minister highlighted the progress the Pakistani government has been making since it came to power 17 months ago. “The government of Prime Minister Imran Khan has been able to pay off huge amount of international loans. The rupee is getting stronger. The business opportunities are growing. Foreign investment has been growing in the recent months. International and domestic tourism is on the rise. The international monetary institutes have been releasing encouraging reports on the Pakistani economy.
“The prime minister’s personal efforts have led to release of thousands of Pakistanis from different Gulf countries including Qatar. Imran Khan has directed the ambassadors to take good care of the overseas Pakistanis. The minorities in Pakistan are safer than ever. The minority communities are much Pakistani as any other citizen of the country is.”
In the end, the community members highlighted different issues faced by the expatriates in Pakistan. The minister told the community that their issues will be resolved at priority bases.
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