Imran, Mahathir agree to explore trade, investment potential

PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia: (Special Correspondent) 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 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.