Islamabad : The sources at the Ministry of Finance on Friday claimed that Qatar is ready to initiate unconditional dialogue with the members of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Saudi Arabia and its allies had imposed an economic and diplomatic blockade on Qatar for allegedly patronizing terrorism and meddling in neighbours’ internal issues on June 5, 2017. But Doha consistently denies the charges. Later, the accusers could not prove any allegation at either regional or international forums. But the GCC ban made Qatar, which used to depend on its neighbours, more self-reliant.
Qatar devised short-term and long-term planning to avoid dependency on the neighbouring countries, and the 18-month-long blockade seems to be a ‘blessing in disguise’ as it gives Qatar success in the fields of finance, diplomacy, human rights, sports, and trade. The World Bank’s report endorsed that the economic growth was 1.3 percent in 2017 when the ban was imposed but the rate of economic growth was 2.8 percent in 2018, which could possibly reach 3.1 percent in 2019.
During the blockade, Qatar started operations at Hamad International Port, where the largest vessels are berthing and it planned new routes for Oman, Turkey, India, Iran, Iraq and Pakistan. Qatar has also launched the LAFFAN-2 refinery project. The new sea route takes only four days instead of a week to transport from Qatar to Pakistan. Qatar also eased visa policy for the passengers of nearly 80 countries that started supporting its tourism industry. Hotel bookings therefore have risen to 95 percent. It is pertinent to mention here that Qatar will host the Football World Cup 2022 and it completed 90 percent infrastructure by December 31, 2018. Qatar has strengthened relations with many countries, especially Germany and the United States in the field of finance. Also, special economic zones have been developed. The government has designed a new policy to allocate land for the economic zones and it changed the labour policy too.
After the ban, Qatar actively participated in international politics and supported the global community to resolve chronic issues, including arbitration in Sudan’s issue, playing a key role to settle issues among Palestinian factions and hosting talks between Afghan Taliban and the US. The Qatar Airways is considered one of the leading airlines in the world. Among the best international airports, Hamad International Airport was at the sixth spot in 2017. Qatar has opened eight visa centres for employment in different countries, including Pakistan. Qatar also announced to leave OPEC without hurting its economy.
According to international observers, Qatar did not allow its blockade to have an impact on its people. Despite these important successful developments, keeping its principled position intact, it has agreed to resolve diplomatic crisis with neighbours with any pre-conditions. Safeguarding its sovereignty and internal security under international laws, Qatar will continue to reject dictation from any country.