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Pakistan and Malaysia to boost economic ties

Lahore : Pakistan and Malaysia expressed the desire to further strengthen bilateral economic ties, expand trade and investment and create favourable conditions for commerce and business in both countries.

The two countries expressed the desire during the visit of Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, according to a joint statement issued by the Foreign Office here.

Both sides took note of the exchange of notes and the ratification of the MoU on the Partial Abolition of Visa Requirement for Diplomatic and Official Passport holders, signed between the two countries during visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan from November 20 to 21.

The two leaders took note that the 1st Bilateral Consultations between the Foreign Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan and the Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia, as a mechanism to intensify the engagements between both sides, was successfully held on February 25 here.

The 1st Bilateral Consultations between both the countries had covered various issues of mutual concerns such as debt management and anti-corruption, defence cooperation, labour matters, consular matters, as well as, regional and international dynamics.

Both leaders acknowledged the successful convening of the 13th Joint Committee on Defence Cooperation (JCDC) which was held from February 26-27 in Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia also invited Pakistan to participate in the upcoming Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (LIMA) from March 26 to 30.

Dr. Mahathir expressed his sincere appreciation to the President Dr. Arif Alvi for hosting a State Banquet and bestowing him with the Nishan-e-Pakistan (Order of Pakistan), Pakistan’s highest civil award.

Both leaders agreed that the existing relations between Pakistan and Malaysia be elevated to a Strategic Partnership. It marked a new level of the bilateral cooperation between both countries in various fields, namely trade in palm oil, agricultural products, food retail, halal products, automotive parts, energy, science and technology, and telecommunication investment. This new level of partnership will entail further engagement and enhanced cooperation between the two countries.

Both sides reaffirmed their shared desire to maintain close high-level contacts, deepen friendly exchanges of visits and cooperation in all fields, as well as, to actively promote Pakistan-Malaysia relations.

In a landmark cooperation in the automotive industry between Pakistan-Malaysia, Dr. Mahathir and Imran Khan jointly officiated the Symbolic Ground-Breaking Ceremony of PROTON plant in Islamabad, which will boost the manufacturing and services industry for both countries.

Pakistan and Malaysia reaffirmed the importance of the cooperation between the private sectors of both countries. Both leaders witnessed the signing of Agreement and Memorandum of Understanding in the field of investment and cooperation, particularly in the telecommunication sector. They also acknowledged that this investment would serve to promote and strengthen the economic ties between both countries.

Malaysia expressed hope that Pakistan would continue to import more Malaysian palm oil and palm oil-based products, as well as, remove any non-tariff barriers on Malaysian goods and products.

Both sides reaffirmed the Malaysia-Pakistan Closer Economic Partnership Agreement (MPCEPA) signed on November 8, 2007 and welcomed the growing momentum in the bilateral economic relations.

They stressed on the need to convene the next MPCEPA Joint Committee Meeting as soon as possible. Malaysia took note of the massive counter-terrorism efforts that Pakistan has successfully undertaken in an effort to eliminate terrorism.

The two leaders agreed on the need to enhance educational ties particularly in the institutions of higher learning, technical and vocational training between Malaysia and Pakistan. They agreed that close cooperation in higher education and vocational training are critical elements to the next phase of relationship.

Tourism and youth exchanges have also been identified as key drivers in promoting greater people-to-people contact and sustainable socio-economic growth, and in fostering mutual understanding between the two countries.

Both leaders noted the growing momentum for halal products among consumers worldwide. Dr. Mahathir conveyed his readiness to share Malaysia’s experience and expertise in the halal industry with Pakistan.

As two peace-loving Islamic nations, the two leaders agreed to increase their collaborative efforts to uphold the true values of Islam in international fora while strengthening the solidarity of the Muslim Ummah.

Both sides reaffirmed their commitments to collaborate more closely on issues affecting the Muslim world including taking joint efforts in underscoring Muslim sensitivities that target Muslim holy personalities and religious belief. Both sides stressed that terrorism cannot be associated with any religion or belief.

Both leaders exchanged views on the situation in Palestine and in the Rakhine State, Myanmar involving Rohingya Muslims. On the Palestinian issue, both countries agreed to contribute positively in other forums, especially in the OIC Committee of Six on Palestine, of which Malaysia and Pakistan are members.

Prime Minister Imran Khan briefed Dr. Mahathir on the grave human rights situation in Kashmir and in this regard referred to the Reports of UNOHCHR, Amnesty International, International People’s Tribunal and All Parties Parliamentary Kashmir Group, UK. He also discussed the role of OIC Contact Group on Kashmir to highlight the issue.

Dr. Mahathir expressed deep appreciation and gratitude to Imran Khan and the people of Pakistan for their warm welcome and generous hospitality extended during their stay in Pakistan.

On the invitation of Prime Minister Imran Khan, Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad is undertaking an official visit to Pakistan from March 21 to 23. He is the guest of honour at the Pakistan Day Parade.

During the visit, Mahathir was accorded a ceremonial welcome at the Prime Minister’s House. After the welcoming ceremony, Imran Khan held a restricted meeting with Mahathir.

Both leaders held fruitful and in-depth discussions, which took place in a warm and cordial atmosphere. The discussion covered a wide range of bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest.

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