In second visit to Kuala Lumpur since assuming office, Pakistan’s premier hopes to underline importance of ties between two nations
Prime Minister Imran Khan is set to leave for Malaysia today (Monday) for a two-day visit on the invitation of Malaysian counterpart Mahathir Mohamad.
The visit will feature one-on-one meetings between the two prime ministers, as well as delegation-level talks on various bilateral issues. Both leaders are also scheduled to witness the signing of several agreements and Memorandums of Understanding, according to a press release issued by the Prime Minister’s Office in Islamabad. P.M. Khan would also address an event organized by Malaysia’s Institute of Strategic and International Studies Malaysia.
P.M. Khan would be accompanied by a high-level delegation, including cabinet members and senior officials.
Throughout his trip, P.M. Khan would share his vision for Pakistan and underline the country’s positive contributions for regional and international peace and security, says the statement. He would also highlight the dire human rights situation in India-held Kashmir, emphasize the importance of averting risks to regional peace and stability posed by Indian belligerence, and underscore the importance of peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.
“The prime minister’s visit is another sign of robust engagement between Pakistan and Malaysia and the shared commitment to further fortify the strategic partnership between the two countries,” says the statement. It notes that Pakistan and Malaysia enjoy close, cordial ties based on commonalities of faith and culture and marked by exceptional mutual trust and understanding.
This is Prime Minister Khan’s second visit to Malaysia—he first traveled to Kuala Lumpur in November 2018—since assuming office in August 2018. Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, meanwhile, visited Pakistan in March 2019 as the chief guest at the Pakistan Day Parade. The two prime ministers also met on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly Session in New York in September 2019.
“In line with the vision of leadership of the two countries, bilateral ties have deepened in recent years, leading to closer cooperation in the sphere of trade, investment, industry, defense, education and in various international forums,” said the statement, adding that today’s visit would provide an opportunity to review the full spectrum of bilateral relations and reaffirm Pakistan’s resolve to forge a robust economic relationship with Malaysia.
Observers have said the visit is particularly noteworthy since it comes after the Kuala Lumpur summit that Pakistan chose to skip after Saudi Arabia expressed concerns that it was setting up a parallel Muslim bloc to the Organization for Islamic Cooperation that is primarily controlled by the Gulf kingdom.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, at the time, claimed Riyadh threatened to withdraw financial assistance from Pakistan, as well as deport Pakistani migrants if Islamabad participated in the summit. Riyadh has denied these claims.