Govt advised to explore maximum opportunities during Qatari Amir's State Visit


Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, Amir of the State of Qatar

Kathmandu, April 22: Former Ministers and experts on foreign affairs have advised the government to give priority to utilising the visit of Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, Amir of the State of Qatar, to Nepal, to secure maximum benefits. The Amir from Qatar will be paying a two-day state visit to Nepal beginning on April 23, tomorrow.     

They believed that Nepal could learn ways from Qatar a country with a small geography and size to explore ways for achieving prosperity in a short period in the presence of a far-sighted leadership with maximum utilization of available resources.     

Former Minister Surendra Kumar Karki praised the role of Qatar in contributing to the international peace establishment significantly, though the country is territorially smaller.     

He said that Qatar is exploring its facilitating and decisive roles in establishing regional peace, strengthening international relations and managing significant political tension.     

Nepal could learn many things from the experiences of Qatar in efforts to peace establishment when it is pursuing the establishment of a durable peace after the conflict by concluding the peace process, he added.     

Besides, Qatar serves as one of the major labour destinations for Nepali migrant workers. Nepal receives a large chunk of remittance from Qatar. The high-level visit taking place from Qatar be utilised as a moment for promoting the rights of Nepali workers in Qatar and their dignity with the availability of decent job opportunities for them.     

As the former Minister and Maoist Centre leader suggested, it would be beneficial for Nepal if the visit could be utilised as an opportunity to bring about Qatar's investment in the processing of drinking water in the Himalayan regions and the production of organic agricultural products.     

CPN (UML) leader and expert on foreign affairs, Dr Rajan Bhattarai commended the path of prosperity that Qatar has found amidst severe climate adversity and limited human resources. Qatar is advancing itself through a multi-dimensional approach, it is exploring its leading role in the global forum and a significant role in dispute management in the Middle Eastern nations, according to Bhattarai.     

Stating that Qatar is seeking to establish itself as a 'world champion' in the resolution of the unrest in the Middle East including in Hamas and Israel, he said Qatar is being developed as an international transit hub in the course of its efforts to expand and air connectivity in the global forum.     

From the diplomatic perspective, the Qatari Amir's upcoming visit to Nepal stands as a symbol and an example that Nepal is moving on a positive path. "Qatar is an economically prosperous country in the Middle East. Over 400,000 Nepali migrant workers are working in Qatar at present. Nepali migrant workers have shed blood and sweat for the development and prosperity of Qatar. Against this backdrop, the visit of Qatari Amir to Nepal is a matter of great importance and an opportunity,' he observed.     

Stating that Nepal could also benefit from Qatar's advancement for economic development and prosperity, he emphasized creating an enabling environment in Nepal for job creation for the youths rather than sending labour forces offshore.     

Dr Bhattarai further asserted, "There's a high prospect of investment in Nepal from Qatar and other Middle East countries. Export from Nepal to Qatar could be increased. Nepal has been importing fuel in a huge quantity. We could make an effort to secure some concessional cooperation towards this end as well. Nepal should pitch these issues and advance the discussion during the visit."     

According to him, securing the welfare of the Nepali migrant workers in Qatar and addressing the issues relating to their employment should be a part of the regular agenda of Nepal's government during the Amir's visit.     

Bhattarai added, "Qatar has achieved economic prosperity in the last few years by capitalizing on its natural resources. It is advancing in terms of development and economic prosperity thanks to an able leadership with a good vision coupled with political stability. It has taught us a lesson that we could move ahead by optimizing the natural resources."     

Similarly, Nepali Congress's leader and former Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Narayan Khadka opined that Qatar was succeeding diplomatically and economically lately. "Countries like the USA and the UK among others have been seeking Qatar's mediation in any form in resolving the dispute between Israel and Hamas," he mentioned.     

He viewed that discussion and consultation on the facilities for the Nepali migrant workers in Qatar should be held during the Amir's visit. He suggested timely amendments to the labour pact between Nepal and Qatar.     

According to him, the Qatari Amir's visit on the eve of the third Investment Summit was an opportune time to create an environment of confidence for the international community to consider investment in Nepal.     

Khadka expressed his belief that the ties between the two countries could be expanded at the people-to-people level if the Training Centre were established in cooperation with Qatar to impart training to aspiring Nepali migrant workers.     

He suggested Nepal should accord hospitality with heart wide open to the Qatari Amir who is arriving here for his two-day official visit by giving Nepal so much value and importance.     

'Initiatives should be taken to raise pay, facilities of Nepali workers'     

Similarly, Dr Narad Bhardwaj who served as Nepal's ambassador to Qatar from 2019 to 2022 has suggested utilizing the Amir's visit, which is the first high-level visit from the Middle East Asian kingdom, for securing the rights and interests of the Nepali migrant workers there.     

Nearly 400 thousand Nepalis are working in different sectors in Qatar at present. According to Dr Bhardwaj, the Qataris also have an interest in this topic as they are impressed by the Nepali workers.     

"The government of Nepal should take initiatives on increasing the salary and job security of Nepali migrant workers in Qatar and their welfare. This is the high-level visit taking from Qatar and if the Qatari Amir gives his approval during his state visit there would not be any problem in the implementation," former ambassador Bhardwaj said.     

According to him, although Qatar is a rich and developed country, the salary of Nepali workers there is comparatively low. He said the Nepali migrant workers there get lower salaries compared to the pay they get in South Korea and Israel whereas Qatar is comparatively a rich and developed country. 

Nepal's Former Ambassador to Qatar suggested to the Government of Nepal to lobby on this topic during the Amir's visit. Stating that in Qatar there is the provision of providing accidental insurance to Nepali workers only in case of an accident at the workplace and not in the case of an accident on the way or other accidents, he urged the government to raise this topic as well.

"Qatar had made efforts to take Nepali workers in the security sector before this and Nepal too has made a decision to that end. But the decision is not yet implemented. If this topic could be taken ahead during the Amir's state visit by taking cognizance of their perspective on it, it would be of much benefit to Nepal in terms of income," Dr Bhardwaj suggested.     

Similarly, Qatar is seeking to take Nepali women as domestic help, but Nepal has prohibited this. At the same time, a large number of Nepali women have been going to the Gulf countries on visit visas and working there as domestic workers. This issue also needs to be managed and the government should address it during the Qatari Amir's visit. (RSS)

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