Qatar refuses to invest in Pakistan’s three major airports. Here’s why

The prime minister was told that the Qatari side is no longer interested in airport operations.

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Jinnah International Airport in Karachi

Qatar, after Saudi Arabia and the UAE, has cold-shouldered Pakistan with a significant investment that could have helped the country’s three major airports to reach international standards.

The Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) has decided against investing in key infra projects in Pakistan’s airports because there was a deviation from a model from 2017 by the authorities concerned in Pakistan.

Qatar wanted the Pakistani government to transfer the ownership of three airports, which include Islamabad International Airport, Jinnah International Airport in Karachi, and Allama Iqbal International Airport in Lahore, through purchasing up to 40% stakes of the government-owned company.

Qatar Investment Authority shows no interest to invest

However, under the new scenario presented by the Pakistani government, the Qatar Investment Authority has shown no interest in the government’s offer of recently outsourcing the commercial activities of the mentioned airports.

As per the documents, this was informed to Prime Minister Imran Khan by the authorities concerned in the federal cabinet meeting. The prime minister was told that the Qatari side is no longer interested in airport operations, and instead, it had asked for a shareholding in all the three major airports. On this, it was reported that the prime minister expressed his disappointment over the failure of authorities concerned in alluring investment from Qatar.

Outsourcing and prior commitments

According to the official documents made available with The News International, during Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Qatar, the Qatari Emir, Tamim Al Thani, had previously expressed a desire to invest in Pakistan’s major airports.

Earlier in May, the Pakistani government had decided to outsource its significant airports in a bid to bring services up to international standards with the services of all those facilities that are available at the major airports of the developed countries.

A new committee in the chairmanship of the Aviation Minister was formed to achieve this, and it has to provide recommendations by June 30, 2020.

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