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Saturday, June 8, 2024

Islamabad, Karachi airports to be administered by Qatari companies

Public owned Qatari companies will start administering the Islamabad and Karachi airports.

Earlier, Qatar had shown a willingness to spend $3 billion in Pakistan across a number of sectors. According to a statement made by Qatar’s Emiri Diwan, the Emir of Qatar’s administrative office, the funds will be invested through the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA). Qatari companies are now to take over the administration of the Islamabad and Karachi airports. The news was made while Shehbaz Sharif, the prime minister, was in Qatar.

Read More: Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund may invest $3 billion in Pakistan

The readiness of Qatar to invest $3 billion in Pakistan was also reaffirmed by officials in Islamabad.

According to two Pakistani aviation officials participating in the negotiations, Doha had expressed interest in an airport management partnership and the Roosevelt Hotel in Manhattan, New York, which is owned by Pakistan International Airlines.

“The Qatar Investment Authority announced its aspiration to invest $3 billion in various commercial and investment sectors in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan,” the Emiri Diwan said, without giving details.

The declaration was made by Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif while he was in Doha. On Wednesday, following meeting with the QIA on Tuesday, Sharif held formal negotiations with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.

According to an agreement made between the two parties during Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s visit to Qatar, State Minister for Finance Aisha Ghaus Pasha revealed on Thursday that public-owned firms of Qatar aim to administer Islamabad and Karachi airports.

Failure of Public Owned Businesses

According to Aisha Ghaus Pasha, even profitable publicly traded companies are experiencing losses because the government of Pakistan is unable to manage the public-owned businesses. She added that Qatar has showed interest in making investments in the country and that privatizing them will help keep them operating profitably.

Due to circular debt in the industry, she bemoaned the fact that the electricity sector received more funding than defense during the most recent budget year.

With foreign reserves as low as $7.8 billion, barely enough for more than a month’s worth of imports, Pakistan is experiencing an economic crisis and a balance of payments catastrophe. Additionally, it has to deal with an expanding current account deficit, a declining rupee, and inflation that went above 24% in July.

Pakistan has proposed a 25% stake in the Roosevelt Hotel, according to the officials. It closed in late 2020 during the decline in travel brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, and it has stayed closed as a result, in part because of funding issues and management conflicts.