What does the membership of Pakistan and India in Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) mean? Is it a confirmation that India has failed in its attempts to isolate Pakistan? Will SCO leaders help defuse tensions in South Asia?
What caused the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations led by Saudi Arabia to isolate and blockade Qatar? What is the US position on the situation? How will it affect American troops and CentCom regional HQ located in Qatar? How will this affect Iran and the Gulf? Is there a risk that Pakistan will be sucked into this crisis?
Why did British PM Theresa May misjudge the public mood when she called early parliamentary elections? Will the outcome with reduced Tory representation hurt Brexit negotiations with the European Union? How many British Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis got elected to the British parliament this time? Could they with their humble backgrounds have had similar success in their countries of origin?
Viewpoint From Overseas host Faraz Darvesh discusses these questions with panelists Misbah Azam and Riaz Haq (www.riazhaq.com)
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#Qatar taps #Pakistan market with direct #Karachi-#Doha route amid #Gulf blockade @AJENews
With UAE’s regional hub off-limits, direct trade routes are opening between Doha and Karachi to boost economic ties.
Doha, Qatar - A Qatari shipping company is set to launch what it calls the fastest direct service between Doha and the Pakistani port city of Karachi this week, as the Gulf state seeks to establish new trade routes amid a land, air and sea blockade from its Arab neighbours.
State-run conglomerate Milaha is overseeing the weekly venture, with the first vessel due to arrive at the newly-inaugurated Hamad Port outside the Qatari capital on September 11 following a transit time of four days - compared to a normally six-to-seven-day journey.
"We have been vigorously ramping up our operations between Qatar and key Asian markets in response to growing demand from traders, importers, and exporters on both sides," said Abdulrahman Essa Al-Mannai, Milaha president and chief executive officer, in a statement ahead of the launch.
The move comes as Qatar counters economic sanctions imposed by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt three months ago.
The four Arab nations severed all diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar on June 5 over allegations of supporting "terrorism". Qatar strongly denies the claims.
Prior to the dispute, most of Doha's shipments to and from Pakistan docked at Dubai's Jebel Ali port - a regional hub.
But with the Emirati port now out of bounds as a trans-shipment centre, Qatari companies are increasingly exploring alternative links to effectively penetrate the Asian market.
Besides the direct route, Qatar and Pakistan are also trading via Oman's Sohar port.
"We used to trade via Jebel Ali in Dubai, but because of the restrictions and the ongoing Gulf situation, we are now going direct so Qatar can capture Pakistan's market," Babar Rauf, sales and marketing manager of Rahmat Shipping, Milaha's Pakistani agent, told Al Jazeera.
Earlier in August, Qatar Ports Management Company, Mwani, also kickstarted its direct shipping line between Doha and Karachi operated by the Asian firm Wan Hai.
Milaha's new service, called PQX, will mainly bring perishable products and other food items, such as seafood, fruits and vegetables, from Pakistan.
#Turkey, #Iran, #Pakistan see big trade boost with #Qatar after #Saudi led blockade @AJENews
The move by Turkey, Iran and Pakistan to increase bilateral trade with Qatar, following a Saudi-led blockade, has benefited all four countries, according to experts.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt and Bahrain cut diplomatic ties with Qatar and imposed a land, air and sea blockade on it on June 5.
Speaking on Sunday on the sidelines of the Gulf Studies Forum in Qatar's capital, Doha, analysts said the crisis has helped Iran, Pakistan and Turkey increase bilateral trade with Qatar, as well as open new commercial routes and strengthen political ties.
Pakistan, which has historically held strong ties with all GCC countries, chose to stay neutral in the immediate aftermath of the blockade. However, its then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visited Riyadh in an offer to mediate between the GCC countries.
Sharif, who spent seven years in exile in Saudi Arabia following a military coup against his government in 1999, urged all countries to "find an early resolution to the impasse" in a statement issued from his office following his return.
However, the statement went on to reaffirm "the strong commitment of the government of Pakistan to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Saudi kingdom".
This subtle tilt towards Saudi Arabia was down to Sharif's long history with the Kingdom and its rulers, according to Zahid Shahab Ahmed, of Pakistan's National University of Science and Technology.
"Sharif has long-standing personal interests in Saudi Arabia. His family has invested heavily in the country while they were in exile there," Ahmed told Al Jazeera.
Sharif also relied on Qatari leadership in his fight against the Panama Papers corruption charges, which is why "Pakistan found itself in a situation where it was stuck in a fight between two brothers.
"It opted for the middle ground and it has benefited Pakistan's relationship with Qatar. There has been the opening of a direct trade route between Pakistani and Qatari ports, Pakistan has agreed to send more workforce to Qatar and the LNG agreement was already in place," said Ahmed.
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