ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan touched down in Bahrain on Monday afternoon and was received by Crown Prince Salman Bin Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa.
PM Imran's maiden visit to Bahrain comes on the invitation of King His Majesty Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa to attend the country’s National Day celebrations as a guest of honour.
Pakistan won’t undermine Saudi interests, PM assures MBS
The premier is accompanied by a high-level delegation, including cabinet members and senior government officials.
This is PM Imran’s first visit to Bahrain since assuming office in August 2018 and he will be awarded the country's highest civil honour.
During the visit, he will have a one-on-one meeting with King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa and hold delegation-level talks with Crown Prince His Royal Highness Salman Bin Hamad Al-Khalifa.
"The exchange of views would cover the entire gamut of bilateral relations and matters pertaining to regional and international issues," read a statement issued by the Foreign Office on Sunday.
"The Prime Minister’s visit to Bahrain will enable the two sides to explore ways and means to further deepen bilateral trade and investments ties. The visit is of special significance and will impart a strong impetus to both sides' endeavours to forge a closer, multifaceted bilateral relationship."
PM Imran reached Bahrain from Saudi Arabia where he assured Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman that Pakistan will not become part of any initiative which might undermine the oil-rich kingdom’s interests.
The assurance was extended with regards to the Kuala Lumpur Summit 2019 – seen as an alternative to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) – which the PM is scheduled to attend later this week.
Riyadh is believed to have been upset with the event being hosted by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and likely to be attended by leaders from Turkey, Iran, Qatar, Pakistan, and Indonesia.
The absence of Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies at the meeting, to be convened from Dec 18 to 21, and the presence of Turkey, Qatar and Iran – with whom Riyadh doesn’t have good relations – have raised eyebrows with observers seeing it as a move to create a new Islamic bloc.
Against this backdrop, there has been a flurry of visits by the Pakistani civil and military leadership to Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies.
Within days of Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s visit to the Saudi capital, PM Imran dashed to Riyadh for a meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.
While the prime minister was in Riyadh, army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa was in the United Arab Emirates in what appears to be a coordinated move to assuage the apprehensions of the Arab leaders regarding the Malaysia gathering.