Mahathir gifts PM Khan 'made in Malaysia' car

In this file photo, Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, left, listens to his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan during a welcoming ceremony at the prime minister's office in Putrajaya on Nov. 21, 2018. (AFP)
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Updated 16 December 2019

Mahathir gifts PM Khan 'made in Malaysia' car

  • PM adviser on commerce will receive the Malaysian X-70 Proton car at a ceremony in Islamabad on Monday
  • The Proton corporation has begun manufacturing cars in Karachi, along with a local partner

ISLAMABAD: A luxury car gifted to Prime Minister Imran Khan by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, has arrived in Pakistan and will be handed over to the government in a ceremony at the Malaysian High Commission in Islamabad on Monday.
Mahathir gifted the Malaysian manufactured X-70 Proton to Khan during his three-day official visit to Pakistan in March earlier this year. 
A Proton joint venture between Pakistan and Malaysia was first agreed on last year, and was the center-piece of a series of agreements signed during Mohamad’s visit.
“This will go a long way in consolidating the excellent relations between the two Muslim countries,” Razak Dawood, Khan’s adviser on commerce, told Arab News on Sunday.
Dawood will receive the car on behalf of the Prime Minister. A symbolic car key was already presented to Khan by the Malaysian PM at a signing ceremony in Islamabad.

In this file photo, the 2019 Proton X70 SUV is revealed during an official launching ceremony in Kuala Lumpur on Dec. 12, 2018. (AFP)

The manufacturing and assembly of the Malaysian Proton cars has already begun in Pakistan with a local partner, Al Hajj Automotive. 
The Proton plant, near the southern port city of Karachi, is the latest in a series of assembly deals set up in Pakistan by international auto-makers including Volkswagen AG and Hyundai Motors.
The Malaysian-based company, Proton, was established in 1983 and has so far sold 3 million cars worldwide. Proton cars are sold in more than 25 countries including Britain, Singapore and Australia.
Pakistan warmed up bilateral relations with Malaysia after Prime Minister Imran Khan visited the country in November last year. Multiple investment agreements have also been signed in different sectors as part of Islamabad’s efforts to attract foreign investment, to boost a fragile economy and create job opportunities.
The investment projects that Malaysia has promised to carry out in Pakistan include its Edotco Group’s agreements in the telecom sector with local units of China Mobile and Telenor, as well as local mobile group, Jazz.
Other deals include a halal meat agreement signed by the foods unit of Pakistan’s Fauji Foundation conglomerate and a $20 million venture capital agreement between Pakistan’s Fatima Ventures and Gobi Partners of Malaysia.

Alice Wells discusses Afghan peace process with Islamabad

Updated 21 January 2020

Alice Wells discusses Afghan peace process with Islamabad

  • Islamabad reaffirms commitment to the Afghan peace process, says FO
  • Wells is in Islamabad since Sunday on a four-day visit

ISLAMABAD: The chief US diplomat for South Asian affairs, Alice G. Wells, on Tuesday discussed the ongoing Afghan reconciliation process with Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood in Islamabad, ahead of an expected US-Taliban peace agreement.

The principal deputy assistant secretary for South and Central Asian affairs at the US State Department has been in Pakistan since Sunday on a four-day visit to discuss a host of issues of bilateral interest, including the Afghan peace process.

US-Taliban talks have been ongoing in the Qatari capital, Doha, where they are moving toward a peace deal. 

Pakistan has been involved in bringing the Afghan Taliban to the negotiating table with the US to restore peace in the region.

“The two sides (Pakistan and the US) ... discussed recent developments regarding the Afghan peace and reconciliation process,” Pakistan’s Foreign Office said in a statement after the hours-long meeting between Wells and Mahmood.

During the meeting, the statement said Pakistan, has “reaffirmed its resolve to continue to support the peace process and pursue positive development of Pakistan-Afghanistan relations.”

This is the second time in recent months the US and Taliban have appeared close to announcing a peace deal. 

In September, President Donald Trump abruptly called off the talks in response to a suicide bombing in Kabul that killed an American soldier.

Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said on Monday in a Twitter post that a three-member team representing the Taliban – Mullah Baradar Akhund, Sher Muhammad Abbas Stanekzai and Amir Khan Muttaqqi – met with US special envoy for Afghan reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad and Gen. Scott Miller, the US and NATO commander in Afghanistan.

Experts have termed the recent negotiations between the US and Taliban decisive and are expecting them to reach an agreement by the end of this month.

“Taliban have already agreed on a violence reduction in Afghanistan that was one of the key demands of the US. So, it means both sides are close to a significant peace pact,” Rahimullah Yousafzai, an expert on Afghanistan and Taliban affairs, told Arab News.

He said that Pakistan has played a crucial role in bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table by using its influence over the militants. “Alice Wells may discuss the pros and cons of the proposed peace agreement with Pakistan’s top civilian and military leadership during her meetings,” he said.