PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia—Prime Minister Imran Khan and his Malaysian prime counterpart Mahathir Mohammed on Tuesday agreed to explore trade and investment potential of their countries for a relationship based on strong economic cooperation.
The two leaders at a joint press stake-out at PM Office Putrajaya spoke about the areas of collaboration, particularly trade, investment, defence, law enforcement, tourism and education.
Imran Khan, who paid a two-day visit to Malaysia on the invitation of Prime Minister Mahathir, said the purpose of his visit was to “further strengthen ties between Pakistan and Malaysia in view of their tremendous future in trade and investment cooperation”.
“We held talks based on the idea to develop much greater trade relationship, investment and joint collaboration in defence,” he said, about the one-on-one meeting with his Malaysian counterpart.
Imran Khan said Pakistan’s strategic location made it a big investment market particularly the access to the Chinese market through China Pakistan Economic Corridor and its Special Economic Zones.
Imran Khan thanked Prime Minister Mahathir for speaking up for Kashmiris, who faced a curfew for last six months by the Indian government.
“You have spoken for the justice for Kashmiris, for which we are thankful,” the prime minister said in reference to the categorical statements of Dr Mahathir on Kashmir from time to time that drew ire of India, cutting off of import of Malaysian palm oil.
“We noticed that India threatened Malaysia for supporting the Kashmir cause to cut their pal oil import, Pakistan will do its best to compensate for that,” he said.
Dr Mahathir termed the meeting with Imran Khan having “discussion on issues of common interest to open doors of opportunities for our people.”
“There is a new face of our relationship based on greater cooperation needed to meet the challenges of our time,” Mahathir said.
Malaysian prime minister Dr Mahathir expressed “commitment to partnership in strengthening relations in best interest of both countries.”
“Prime Minister Imran Khan and I had a substantive discussion on bilateral cooperation as well as on regional and international issues,” he said, adding that it reflected the mutual commitment to strengthen a long history of bilateral relations.
The two sides also agreed to increase exchange visits at all levels to set the tone of future course of bilateral relations.
Mahathir said the meeting called for further collaboration between various ministries and agencies of the two countries and welcomed the successful convening of bilateral consultations between senior officials of both ministries of Foreign Affairs as the key forum to intensify engagements at working level.
Mahathir said on economic cooperation, there existed huge potential in both countries to develop partnership particularly in trade and investments, and to establish network between various economies, and linkages among private sector.
He reaffirmed the importance of Malaysia and Pakistan’s closer economic partnership signed on November 8th, 2007 in Kuala Lumpur and expressed satisfaction on agreement for regular discussion to remove barriers in key areas and address the bilateral goods in balance.
Mahathir said Malaysia looked forward to convene the fourth Joint committee meeting in Islamabad.
To a question on prospects of investment in Pakistan, he said the country had got developing population of 200 million and their needs could be met within through joint ventures with Malaysia.
He mentioned setting up of Photon car’s automotive plant set up in Pakistan, which he said would go further into engineering businesses.
The two leaders discussed cooperation in defence, law enforcement, tourism and education.
Islamic states must come together against Muslims’ persecution: PM Imran
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday, terming the ongoing religious persecution of Muslims all over the world the ‘worst in human history’, said answer to the grave problem was a collective and firm voice by the Islamic countries.
“The only solution is that Muslims must come together on something like what is happening in Mayanmar and Kashmir, when someone is only being persecuted because of their religion,” the prime minister said at International Affairs Forum on ‘Vision for Regional Peace and Security’ at the Malaysia’s Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies.
He said, “We don’t want the Muslim Ummah to come together to fight, but to protect the interests like any other community does.”
He regretted that despite being a population of 1.3 billion, Muslims suffered all over the world, might it be in Libya, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and termed it “a tail of disaster”.
“The reason is that we have no voice and there is a total division amongst. We can’t even come together as whole on the OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) summit meeting on Kashmir,” he said.
However, the prime minister praised his Malaysian counterpart Dr Mahathir Mohamad for taking an open stance on Kashmir despite threats by India to cut off import of palm oil.
“A leader always has a belief system and an ideology, and that’s why we love and respect Mahathir,” he said.
The prime minister mentioned that no one in the western world could utter a single word against 12 million Jews because of them being a very cohesive, strong and influential community.
Imran Khan said it was fortunate that the conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran was over, and expressed satisfaction that Pakistan played a part in reducing tensions between the two Muslim states.
He said terrorism and religion had no linkage, and pointed out that Muslims faced discriminatory treatment on the basis on this misconception.
In response to a question if he had lost hope for reconciliation with India, the prime minister said, “Whenever there is a government in India which believes in prosperity and poverty alleviation, Pakistan will be the first to offer hand of friendship.”
He recalled that after assuming office, he immediately reached out to India to enhance relations for the benefit of a large number of poor people living in the Sub-continent. However, the attempts were repeatedly rebuffed, he added.
The prime minister said the racist Hindutva would exclude 500 million people in India because the ideology did not allow other shades of opinion to prosper.
Imran Khan said his vision for Pakistan was to bring the people out of poverty and fight the mafia involved in corruption.
His government was making every effort to transform the country into a welfare state based on principles of compassion and rule of law, he added.
Imran Khan said numerous mafias in Pakistan, whether they were political or those involved in price hike, did not want the country to make progress by exerting their undue use of power.
He said the reason why Pakistan could not achieve progress despite its God-given great potential was its journey without a proper vision. “The nations without a vision die as it is the key to keep them flourish and develop,” he added.
Imran Khan emphasized that he wanted to emulate the ideologies of Pakistan’s founding and ideological fathers, including Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Allama Iqbal, who dreamt of a tolerant, just and welfare state like that of Madina, which embodied all modern principles of justice and compassion.
He said his government launched several welfare projects for the uplift of poor people, including establishment of shelter homes.
Pakistan, Malaysia sign extradition treaty
Pakistan and Malaysia on Tuesday signed a Treaty of Extradition as part of a cooperative law enforcement process between the two countries.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Malaysia’s Law Ministerb Liew Vui Keong inked the Treaty at a ceremony witnessed by Prime Minister Imran Khan and Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed, at the PM Office, Putrajaya.
Malaysian premier Mahathir at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Imran Khan said the Treaty “reinforced positive momentum in bilateral relationship by enhancing security and transnational crime cooperation.”
“Any criminal, may it a terrorist or an ordinary criminal, having committed crime in Malaysia and trying to hide in other country with which we have extradition, will not be able to get refuge,” he said.
Prime Minister Imran Khan termed the signed Treaty an important milestone in cooperation with Malaysian in law enforcement sector.
He mentioned that a wanted Pakistani criminal involved in a number of murders was extradited from Malaysia even before the signing of Treaty.
82,000 Pakistani workers to be benefited from the social protection agreement: Qureshi
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Tuesday said that the social protection agreement signed with Malaysia during Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit would provide substantial social relief to 82,000 Pakistani labour class in Malaysia.
He said there was no social protection to Pakistani labours in Malaysia in the past but after signing of the agreement now if a Pakistani labour or worker died in Malaysia during job or service, his or her family would be given pension according to the salary.
The Foreign Minister while talking to Pakistan Television said similarly, in case of disability of a worker or becoming a victim of any disease during work, he/she would be given a substantial relief, adding that this social security would be a great support to Pakistani blue color jobbers.
Qureshi said Pakistan’s remittances from Malaysia increased by 35 percent during 2018-19 and about 1.55 billion dollars were being transferred to Pakistan.
He paid tributes to Pakistani workers by sending their valuable contributions in shape of foreign remittances.
He said Prime Ministers of Pakistan and Malaysia had discussed ways to convert the close bilateral ties into bilateral economic strategic partnership.
He said the two sides exchanged views to enhance bilateral cooperation in various sectors, including trade, investment, tourism, engineering, and defence.
The Minister said the two countries also signed extradition treaty for extradition of criminals and fugitives between the two countries.
The Minister said the two sides also exchanged views about the recently held Kuala Lumpur Summit and the Prime Minister emphasized that Pakistan did not want to divide the Muslim Ummah but rather wanted promotion of economic and development cooperation among the Muslim countries.
The Foreign Minister said Prime Minister Imran Khan during the joint press conference also removed doubt about the K L Summit.