- Says country should instead be commended for its wonderful arrangements
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif regretted on Wednesday what he called a "barrage of propaganda" aimed at Qatar as host of the ongoing FIFA World Cup.
“Unfortunate that Qatar is being subjected to a barrage of propaganda as host of FIFA World Cup," he said on Twitter. "It should rather be commended for wonderful arrangements for mega event and being a promoter of global peace and development.
“Pakistan stands in solidarity with HH Emir and people of Qatar,” the PM wrote.
He was referring to the barrage of criticism on Qatar including boycotts and slogans with many in the west accusing the oil-rich nation of suppressing human rights.
Last month, its ruler Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani said Qatar has been hit by an “unprecedented campaign” of criticism over preparations for the football World Cup, calling the attacks “defamation”.
“Since we won the honour of hosting the World Cup, Qatar has been subjected to an unprecedented campaign that no host country has faced,” the emir said in a speech.
FIFA awarded the World Cup to Qatar in 2010 and it has since spent tens of billions of dollars on preparations.
The energy-rich Gulf state has faced constant scrutiny over its treatment of foreign workers as well as LGBTQ and women’s rights.
“We initially dealt with the matter in good faith, and even considered that some criticism was positive and useful, helping us to develop aspects that need to be developed,” the emir told Qatar’s legislative council.
“But it soon became clear to us that the campaign continues, expands and includes defamation and double standards, until it reached an amount of ferocity that made many wonder, unfortunately, about the real reasons and motives behind this campaign,” he said.
Qatar’s foreign ministry last month also summoned the German ambassador over Interior Minister Nancy Faeser’s comments that a country’s human rights record should be factored into whether they are selected as World Cup host.
“On the one side, the German population is misinformed by government politicians; on the other, the government has no problem with us when it comes to energy partnerships or investments,” said Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper in an interview.
On the other hand, FIFA has lauded Qatar’s preparations and the eight stadiums designed to highlight Arabic tradition and culture.
“Together we will deliver the best World Cup ever, on and off the field,” FIFA president Gianni Infantino had said in October.