A rousing welcome awaits Mohamed Mursi when he becomes the first Egyptian president to visit Pakistan in nearly four decades.
President Mursi will address a specially-convened joint session of parliament during his three-day visit to Pakistan later this month.
Mursi is due to arrive in Islamabad on November 22 for a bilateral visit and a multilateral summit, an official source said, making him the first Egyptian president to visit the country in 37 years. His bilateral agenda will be initiated at the end of the Developing-8 Summit meeting, which will be inaugurated by President Asif Ali Zardari.
A hectic programme is being chalked out for the Egyptian president during his three-day stay in the capital. Mursi will hold separate talks with President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf on mutual cooperation in different fields, while Chief of the Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani is also set to pay a courtesy call on him.
Political party leaders – Nawaz Sharif, Imran Khan and Syed Munawar Husain, among others – will also hold exclusive meetings with the Egyptian president.
The first democratically-elected president of Egypt will also be awarded with an honorary doctorate degree by NUST University before he returns to his home country on November 24.
President Zardari is set to host a banquet in his Egyptian counterpart’s honour at the presidency in Islamabad.
In a special message of felicitation to Mursi on his election as president in June, President Zardari had expressed hope that his success would contribute towards peace and stability in Egypt and that relations between Cairo and Islamabad would further strengthen under his leadership.
According to a press statement issued by the Pakistan embassy in Cairo, President Zardari had expressed keen interest to invite his Egyptian counterpart to the D-8 summit.
Both leaders will meet in Islamabad to discuss the strengthening of bilateral relations between the two countries. A Foreign Office official said the presidents would also discuss matters of mutual interest, besides exchanging views on international and regional issues during their meeting.
Pakistan and Egypt have been cooperating against terrorism under an agreement. In 2011, Pakistan arrested and extradited to Egypt several terrorists, who were found responsible for an attack on the Egyptian Embassy in Islamabad in 1995.
A delegation of Egyptian businessmen and entrepreneurs will accompany Mursi to Islamabad to explore investment opportunities in the growing Pakistani economy.
Pakistan wants to enhance its existing trade volume with Egypt, which, at present, is much lower than expected, the official said.
Islamabad and Cairo are also set to hold the forthcoming Joint Ministerial Commission Meeting.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 16th, 2012.