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.