PM confident Malaysia trip will strengthen bilateral ties


ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday thanked his Malaysian counterpart, Mahathir Mohamad, for his warm hospitality during his recent visit to Malaysia and said that the trip would strengthen ties between the two countries.

In a tweet, he said, “I want to express my heartfelt thanks to Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad for his warm hospitality and I want to thank his ministers and the Malaysian business community for welcoming us in the spirit of friendship. This trip will strengthen ties between our two countries.”

He also thanked the Malaysian first lady for the “wonderful lunch she arranged for us”.

On Wednesday, while addressing a joint press conference with his Malaysian counterpart in Kuala Lumpur, PM Khan said that Pakistan wants to replicate the Malaysian model of good governance.

Both leaders stressed the importance of exchanges of visits at all levels, with a view to further expand the depth of bilateral ties for commerce and business in both countries, particularly in palm oil, agro products, food retail, halal products, automotive parts, energy, science and technology, and telecommunication.

PM Khan said that Pakistan had huge untapped tourism resources, which it wanted to develop on the pattern of Malaysia.

“Malaysia progressed greatly under Mahathir Mohammad’s leadership, who transformed the country and raised the per capita income and Gross Development Product (GDP). Both of us received votes because we stood against corruption,” he said.

“We will follow Malaysia’s model to bolster tourism and other sectors in Pakistan,” he added.

PM Khan also invited his Malaysian counterpart to visit Pakistan to attend the March 23 ceremony as the guest of honour. His invitation was accepted by the Malaysian premier who said that he would visit Pakistan in March.

Malaysian PM Mahathir said, “Pakistan and Malaysia face the same challenges. Imran Khan is the first foreign leader whom I have welcomed.”

He emphasised the need to continue mutual cooperation to benefit from the experiences of one another. He said that it was decided to have a dialogue partnership at the ASEAN group, besides enhancing mutual cooperation in the defence sector. Malaysia further invited Pakistani companies to invest in the country in both the manufacturing and services sectors where the companies are able to leverage Malaysia’s strategic location in expanding their investments into ASEAN and the Asia Pacific regions.

Pakistan invited potential Malaysian companies to explore the possibility of investing in Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to take advantage of Pakistan’s strategic location at the crossroads of Central, South and West Asia.

In a joint statement issued later, the two leaders welcomed the establishment of bilateral consultation between the senior officials of both foreign ministries as a mechanism to intensify engagements between both sides. In this regard, Malaysia and Pakistan will convene the first bilateral consultation in Islamabad next year.

The two leaders also agreed on the need to enhance educational ties between Malaysia and Pakistan and agreed that close cooperation on education and training are critical elements of the next phase of the relationship.

PM Khan, along with his delegation, arrived in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday for a two-day official visit. This was the premier’s inaugural visit to Malaysia since taking the oath of office in August. Upon his arrival, he was presented a guard of honour during the welcoming ceremony at Malaysian PM Mahathir’s office in Putrajaya. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Finance Minister Asad Umar, and Adviser on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood accompanied the premier during the visit. The visit came to an end late Wednesday, as the Malaysian premier bid him farewell at the airport.