WPK Shah Mahmood Qureshi GCC
Group photo of the dignitaries at luncheon hosted by the Foreign Minister of Pakistan Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi in honor of Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Nayef bin Falah Al-Hajraf at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Islamabad on January 5, 2022. Image Credit: Supplied

Islamabad: Pakistan and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) finalised an action plan for strategic dialogue to deepen cooperation in various fields.

The Joint Action Plan for Strategic Dialogue (2022-2026) provides an institutional approach to deepen cooperation in various fields, including security, political, trade and investment, agricultural and food security, transportation, energy, environment, health, culture and education.

The progress was made during the visit of GCC Secretary-General Dr Nayef Falah M. Al Hajraf to Pakistan on an invitation extended by the Pakistani foreign minister during his last visit to Islamabad to attend the 17th Extraordinary Session of the Organisation of Islamic Corporation (OIC) in December 2021.

Pakistan, GCC to expand trade ties

During the current visit, Dr Nayef met the foreign, finance and trade ministers of Pakistan to enhance trade and business ties. Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and GCC Sec-Gen reviewed the latest developments and progress on the free trade agreement, stressing the importance of strengthening economic relations and establishing joint investment projects to broaden ties between the GCC and Pakistan.

Dr Nayef and his delegation also met Pakistani PM’s Advisor for Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood. He stressed “more coordination to seize opportunities in the field of trade and investment.” They agreed to expand economic ties, building on previous agreements signed in 2004 and 2011 which the officials hoped would initiate a “new phase” of Pakistan-GCC relations, consolidating bilateral cooperation with expanded trade. Pakistan’s Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin also held a meeting with Dr Nayef to discuss different aspects of financial and economic cooperation between the two sides.

He informed the delegation of the opportunities to expand cooperation in agriculture, IT, tourism, housing, industrial and other sectors.

GCC chief meets ambassadors of Gulf states

GCC Secretary-General Dr Nayef and his team also met the ambassadors of the GCC states in Islamabad and discussed the organisation’s future ambitions. During the meeting, Dr Nayef stressed the importance of supporting and strengthening cooperation relations between the GCC and Pakistan in various fields. The meeting was attended by UAE Ambassador Hamad Obaid Al Zaabi, Saudi Ambassador Nawaf Said Al Maliki, Oman’s Ambassador Sheikh Mohammed Omar Al Marhoon, Bahrain’s Ambassador Mohammed Ebraheem Abdul Qader, Kuwait’s Ambassador Nassar Abdul Rahman Al Mutairi, and Qatar’s Chargé d’Affairs Saad Abdullah Al Qahtani.