HE Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah, President of Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah International Foundation for Energy and Sustainable Development, said that siege countries’ prisons are filled with political prisoners, while Qatar can boost itself with none of them.
He said it was a matter of pride for Qatar that the nation has so far not imprisoned a single person for expressing their views.
“Of late they have stipulated a law that provides for up to 15 years in jail for those expressing sympathy with Qatar.”
He informed that even those who were a part in the conspiracy to overthrow the regime in 1995 was eventually forgiven by the Emir. He recollected that some of them were employees at Qatar Petroleum while he was the Minister of Energy and Industry. “Their salaries were withheld because of being convicted of illegal actions,” he said, adding he was surprised to receive an order from the Emiri Diwan to pay their full salaries to their families and when they were pardoned they returned to their jobs unharmed.
He believes that fair distribution of wealth is the secret of welfare in the country and not just the wealth alone.
“The Saudis said Qatar is a small country, which is true; our total production of oil and gas amounts to 2mn barrels per day and Saudi Arabia produces more than 10mn barrels per day. Wealth is distributed fairly; it is not the size of a country or the population that matters,” he pointed out.
He stressed that Qatar strives for the welfare of both Qataris and the expatriates by providing them the best of healthcare and diversified education.
HE al-Attiyah advised both Qataris and expatriates to be careful of the psychological warfare now being waged, with its bad consequences on the economy. “The 10-day ultimatum to implement the demands of the blockading countries was designed to give the impression that in case of non-compliance, bigger sanctions would be imposed, may be launching a military attack, which was not true in anyway.”
He is worried that the region may be trying to destroy itself.
“Personally, I leave out the others and I look to Saudi Arabia as a country of strategic depth and the largest state in the region that should be keen on the stability of the region ,” he said.
Regarding the controversy surrounding the ‘politicisation’ of Haj, he said all indicators showed that there were plans to ill-treat Qatari pilgrims. “It is our responsibility to avoid this and guarantee that they do not face any harassment, abuse or ill-treatment like what had happened during the Umrah” he said.
He was disappointed with Saudi press for promoting hatred and incitement against Qataris. The Saudi authorities have ignored to respond to communications with regard to the safety of Qatari pilgrims, he added.