Home Interviews Pakistan can take guidance from Qatar’s soft image building strategy – Expatriates...
Interview; A. Malik
The total number of Pakistani expatriates living in foreign countries is said to be 8.8 million, out of which 4.7 million are living in the Middle East. 1.2 million Pakistanis are living in Britain. In June 2021 for the continuous 13th month the total number of remittances sent by Pakistanis living abroad crossed the figure of US $2 billion.
In the PTI government’s tenure under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan the foreign remittance has witnessed an upward trend. This is the role that expatriate Pakistanis are playing in national development and national progress.
The skilled and unskilled Pakistani labor living in the Middle Eastern countries are playing a crucial role in the national development process. Pakistanis living in Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries have been sending their remittances to Pakistanis for years.
On the other hand Pakistanis are playing a lead role in improving the bilateral relations between the host countries and Pakistan. These workers and laborers with their hard work are not only earning a livelihood for their loved ones but they are earning a good name for themselves as well as for Pakistan in those societies.
Epitomizing these qualities is a Pakistani personality, Musharraf Khan, who originally belongs to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province—a region famous for its hospitality. Musharraf Khan has been living Qatar—a country which is a country in Western Asia. Saudi Arabia is its only neighbor.
This is a country of 2.6 million population, out of which 2.3 million are foreigners. Qatar has the third highest per capita income in the world. In the human development index Qatar comes first, according to United Nations estimates. Rich with oil and gas reservoirs, Qatar has the third largest gas reservoirs in the world. According to one estimate Qatar contains 13 percent of world gas and oil.
To introduce expatriate Pakistanis, and to appreciate their efforts In the host countries to bring a good name to Pakistan, we have conducted an interview with Musharraf Khan, which is as follows.
Q: where were you born and where you underwent initial education?
A: Thank you for giving me time. You have become the voice of expatriate Pakistanis. I thank you on behalf of expatriate Pakistanis. I was born in the city of flowers and city of hospitality. I obtained initial education from Peshawar and later I completed my education from the same city.
Q: How did you reached Qatar and why did you select that country for your residence and work?
A: I came to Qatar in 1992. Firstly I joined the oil sector. God was gracious and I started my own business. I worked hard day and night and successes paved my way to progress. My business flourished. I am continuing my business and in this way I am contributing to the development of Qatar as well as Pakistan.
Q: What exactly did you lose or gain while living in Qatar?
A: Qatar has become my second home. It is as dear to me as Pakistan. Here both the government and the society are excellent. I was afforded a lot of opportunity for progress while living here. Every person who leaves his ancestral town and comes far away wants to achieve progress, he should move forward and his financial condition should improve. So that he could do something for his loved ones. Qatar’s society is very peaceful and people are extremely good and friendly.
It’s a law abiding society, people respect the elders and love the young ones and it’s a moral society. People respect each other and law and order is exemplary. Everyone is equal before the law and if you respect the law you will never face any problem. At the international level Qatar has always acted as a mediator for the resolution of international conflicts which is a reflection of the character of the society. We have gained a lot from Qatar but we have lost nothing here. However we really miss our ancestral town.
Q: How are Pakistanis living in Qatar and what role do they play in its economic development?
A: Well, it is said that People started to come to Qatar from our region in the 1940s. At that time our people were mostly associated with the service sector. According to one estimate there are now 125000 Pakistanis living in Qatar. Qatar is spread over 4471 square miles and it is really possible to make space for yourself in this society with your hard work, skills and labor. Qatar gained its independence in 1971 and because of its peaceful character it achieved fast development and progress.
Pakistanis live a very calm and peaceful life in this country. You can easily get Pakistani food here. There are Pakistani restaurants here and some of those restaurants are very old. You can find skilled, unskilled labor from Pakistan in this society as well as businessmen from Pakistan in Qatar. Everyone from Pakistan is working hard and earning a good name as well as livelihood.
Q: How do you see the relations between Pakistan and Qatar?
A: The relations between Pakistan and Qatar are based on mutual trust and love. Under Prime Minister Imran Khan the relations between the two countries have witnessed new closeness and fast paced progress. The leaders of two countries have visited each other’s countries and this has led to deepening of relations. I commend the role of foreign minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, his tenure has seen bilateral relations entering a fast paced track and it has also led to deepening of relations. Visa issuance has become the focus of diplomacy between the two countries.
I think the fast tracked and deep relations are in the best interests of both the countries. Pakistan can take guidance from Qatar’s soft image building strategy. Qatar can play a major role in meeting our energy requirements. On the other hand Food supply is a sector in which there are lots of business opportunities for Pakistan.
In my understanding there are lots of opportunities in bilateral relations and both the countries can really benefit each other by making progress in bilateral relations. As far as the media is concerned Qatar has created a soft image for itself in the world.
I think we can work in the fields of education, agriculture, health Dairy and energy and we can convert the bilateral cooperation in these fields into partnership. In this way we can benefit the people of both countries.
Q: As an expatriate Pakistani we expectations of yours have been fulfilled by the present PTI government?
A: The expatriate Pakistanis have special affection for Prime Minister Imran Khan. There is no doubt about it. Expatriate Pakistanis deeply feel that the way their lives have been improved in foreign countries. The benefits and facilities that are available to them. The kind of system they are living in. They feel that the same facilities and the same luxuries should be available in Pakistan as well. Expatriate Pakistanis have a lot of expectations from Prime Minister Imran Khan.
He is the person who we think would fulfill all the promises that he has made with the people of Pakistan. He would take the Pakistani nation to its destiny and this is the wish that is close to the hearts of expatriate Pakistanis. We expect that Pakistan will progress and become strong economically. The young people should get employment. The nation should get rid of poverty and injustice. This is the wish that we Pakistanis have in our heart. We pray that Imran Khan succeeds in achieving these objectives. His failure will disappoint everyone.
Q: Now there is a talk of giving rights to the expatriate Pakistanis? How do you see this development?
A: I think the basic thing is who delivers. I think the basic thing is how to run the system effectively and to create a good team for that. If someone can deliver, if there is a good team, support to such a person is generally available. But on the other hand if only development is that they want to hold elections, as Imran Khan used to say that only holding elections is not democracy.
The basic thing is to reform the system and we are praying that the system should be reformed. World is moving ahead fast. 74 years have passed. People should get rid day to day problems of their lives. This is about a national movement and struggle. We will work together and play our role then we will achieve our destiny. We will achieve our place in the world.
Q: What is your message for the youngsters?
A: I will tell the youngsters to acquire knowledge. Acquire skills. Make yourself better and better. Education and skills are two things which will help you in practical life. Make education and knowledge a pattern of your life. Serve your parents. Make your place by working hard. Youngsters should remember that everybody faces hardships in life. You cannot achieve success in a day. Disappointment is not the solution to your problems. Continue your struggle and hard work with courage and perseverance. Success will be yours.