ISLAMABAD: The visit by Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad earlier this year has given fresh impetus to ties between the two nations.
This was suggested by the Malaysian High Commissioner Ikram Mohammad Ibrahim in a recent interview with the Diplomatic News Agency (DNA).
He added Dr Mahathir had arrived in Pakistan as the first Malay premier after a 12-year gap. For this and having him attend the annual military parade, had helped break the ice in bilateral relations.
Ibrahim went on to detail that the struggle for the Malayan independence, which resumed in 1945 following the end of World War-II, drew inspiration from the fundamental principles and ideas espoused by several great leaders of the Muslim world, including Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
The Malay high commissioner said that Pakistan and Malaysia have long enjoyed cordial ties with a steady exchange of high-level visits between both countries over the past six decades.
“Dr Mohamad has himself had undertaken four official visits to Pakistan, in 1984, 1997, 2002 and, most recently, from March 21 to 23, 2019 to reciprocate the official visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to Malaysia four months prior,” Ibrahim said, adding that Dr Mohamad was no stranger to Pakistan, and remains humbled and appreciative of the genuine longstanding admiration he enjoys from the Pakistani leadership and people.
Moreover, he pointed out that Dr Mahatir had been awarded the Nishan-e-Quaid-i-Azam when he visited in 1984 while PM Imran had conferred the Nishan-e-Pakistan on him when he visited in March.
Ibrahim said that they were a categorical reflection of Islamabad’s profound appreciation of Dr Mahathir’s role and contributions in forging substantive bilateral ties and towards the betterment of the Muslim Ummah and the developing world at large.
He continued that the Malaysia-Pakistan strategic partnership was a tangible embodiment of the desire of both leaders to further deepen and expand the scope of the existing multidimensional and multilevel cooperation, in particular by capitalising on the comparative advantages and optimising the expertise that each country possesses through the various existing and new mechanisms.
In this regard, he said that they will see greater governmental and private sector engagements between both sides, in particular in the area of economic cooperation, mindful also that both countries are active participants under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) framework of cooperation.
On economic cooperation, Ibrahim pointed out that Malaysia is the third largest foreign investor in Pakistan after China and the United Kingdom with investments worth $94 million in Fiscal Year 2017-2018.
He added that Malaysia will continue to invest in the energy, manufacturing, agriculture — especially halal food, gemstones mining and services sectors — including telecommunications and tourism.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 10th, 2019.