Pakistan wants to reinvigorate its ties with the Muslim world, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Monday.
He added that the current government had paid special attention to relations with Saudi Arabia in 2021.
The foreign minister was addressing a press conference on the performance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the last year. “We paid special attention to [enhancing relations with] Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran, the Gulf countries, Malaysia and Indonesia,” Qureshi told reporters, adding that Pakistan attached great importance to its relations with Saudi Arabia, which Prime Minister Imran Khan had visited twice in 2021, in May and October.
“I also got the chance to go on a bilateral visit to Saudi Arabia,” he said.
Last month, Pakistan received a $3 billion loan from Saudi Arabia as part of an economic support package. The loan is for one year at a 4 percent interest rate under the terms of the package, which was signed in November.
The foreign minister also outlined Islamabad’s efforts to maintain cordial relations with other Muslim countries also, saying that he undertook a visit to Iraq during 2021 after which his Iraqi counterpart reciprocated by visiting Islamabad.
He said Pakistan had exported “record manpower” to Qatar in 2021, crediting the achievement to strong ties between the two countries.
“We have even more young, skilled and literate workers who can be sent to Qatar during the [football] World Cup,” he said, referring to the 2022 FIFA World Cup scheduled to take place in Qatar from November 21 to December 18, 2022.
Qureshi said Pakistan had made considerable progress in its relations with Kuwait, adding that a whopping 1,400 medical professionals were sent to Qatar during 2021.
“We earned a lot of goodwill as these ambassadors [medical workers] saved people’s lives there,” he said.
Speaking about Pakistan’s relations with the rest of the world, the foreign minister said Pakistan’s foreign policy had taken a “decisive shift” from geopolitics to geo-economics, and Islamabad was focused on enhancing ties with all major world players during 2021, including Russia, EU, US, China and other countries.
Qureshi said a special session of the Organization of Islamic Corporation (OIC) organized by Pakistan to address the economic and humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan had received praise and recognition from around the globe.