Pakistan, Malaysia to cement ties as Mahathir in Islamabad for Republic Day

Photo Caption: Prime Minister Imran Khan welcomes Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad at the Prime Minister House in Islamabad on Friday. (Photo Courtesy: PID)
Updated 22 March 2019

Pakistan, Malaysia to cement ties as Mahathir in Islamabad for Republic Day

  • Pakistani PM Khan and Mahathir agree to enhance people-to-people contact, encourage joint business ventures
  • Mahathir will be guest of honour at Pakistan Day parade on Saturday

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan and his Malaysian counterpart Mahathir Mohamad have agreed to strengthen bilateral ties by focusing on people-to-people contact and business relations as the Malaysian premier visits Pakistan on a three-day trip.

Mahathir arrived in Islamabad on Thursday evening and will be the guest of honour at the Pakistan day parade on March 23, a day celebrated across the country to mark the anniversary of a 1940 resolution calling for a separate homeland for Muslims in India.

After a meeting at the Prime Minister House in Islamabad on Friday, the prime ministers addressed a joint press conference and announced that they had agreed to enhance economic relations.

“I am happy to join you in celebrating Pakistan Day,” Mahathir said, adding that the two prime ministers had held bilateral discussions on significant issues affecting Pakistan, Malaysia and the larger Muslim world.

He said both countries had also identified areas of mutual cooperation and agreed to facilitate the needs of businessmen of both countries.

“We also admire you for your stand against corruption,” Khan, who came to power last August promising to crackdown on graft, said to his Malaysian counterpart.

Later, the two leaders led their sides at delegations-level talks, which encompassed cooperation in trade, automobiles, agriculture, tourism and food processing, particularly Halal meat.

On Thursday, Razak Dawood, the prime minister’s advisor on commerce, had said a memoranda of understanding covering $800-$900 million worth of investments with Malaysian investors would be signed on Friday.

Pakistan is facing an economic crisis due to depleting foreign reserves and a widening current account deficit and seeking investments from friendly countries.

Pakistani politicians, analysts appreciate Saudi Crown Prince’s stance on regional peace

Updated 17 June 2019

Pakistani politicians, analysts appreciate Saudi Crown Prince’s stance on regional peace

  • The Crown Prince’s recent statement reflects his wisdom and restraint, says Senator Sehar Kamran
  • International community must act to defuse situation in the Middle East, maintains senior analyst Zahid Hussain

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s major political parties and analysts on Monday appreciated Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s statement that the Kingdom did not want a war in the Middle East.
In an interview last week, the Crown Prince also called for a decisive international position against Iran.
“At this very critical moment, the demonstration of restraint by the Saudi Crown Prince is very much appreciated. This shows his wisdom and rationale,” Senator Sehar Kamran of the Pakistan Peoples Party told Arab News, adding: “I believe the entire world will applaud the statement. We must give peace a chance and support efforts for political solution to all outstanding issues.”
“The international community can play an important role in reminding Iran of the consequences [of war] and help initiate a dialogues process to prevent further escalation of tensions in the region,” she continued.
Kamran said the recent attack on a Saudi oil tanker was a serious issue and must be strongly condemned.
“Every nation has the right to protect its sovereignty and national assets,” she noted. “Iran must act as a responsible state. A transparent investigation of the attack by the United Nations and collective wisdom on the issue will be the best option.”
Echoing her sentiment, Romina Khurshid Alam of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party also welcomed the Crown Prince’s statement.

“Our party leadership has always advocated for peace in the region and supports Pakistan’s role as a mediator to resolve all outstanding issues,” she said.
Omar Sarfraz Cheema, the central information secretary of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, told Arab News that “the PTI strongly condemns attacks on Saudi facilities by Houthis.”
He recalled that the Pakistani leadership had expressed its desire to play a mediator’s role for peace and stability in the Middle East.
Last week, Cheema told Arab News that Prime Minister Imran Khan had already urged the Houthis to engage in “meaningful dialogue” with Saudi Arabia to resolve the conflict. “This is a divisive issue for the whole Muslim world and should be resolved through negotiations,” he added.
“Peace is essential for the development of countries in the Middle East,” former Pakistani ambassador Rizwan-ul-Haq told Arab News. “Any country which upsets the tranquility and peace of the region must be invited to explain its position to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and asked to change its stance in a unanimous and decisive way.”
“We should sit together with transgressors and find a diplomatic solution before resorting to extreme measures,” he added.
Veteran Pakistani political commentator Zahid Hussain said that “the attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf and oil facilities in the Kingdom have created a serious security situation in the Middle East and there is an urgent need for the international community to act and defuse the situation.”
“The Crown Prince is right that war is not an option,” he added.