Mahathir arrives in Pakistan, received by PM

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Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad arrived in Islamabad on Thursday evening for a three-day visit to Pakistan.

According to Radio Pakistan, the Malaysian premier is visiting on the invitation of Prime Minister Imran Khan, and will be the chief guest at the Pakistan Day parade on March 23.

Mahathir was accompanied by a high-level delegation, including several leading businessmen.

He was received at Nur Khan airbase by the prime minister, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Khusro Bakhtiar, and was given a 21-gun salute and presented with a bouquet of flowers upon his arrival.

Razak Dawood, the prime minister’s advisor on commerce, said memoranda of understanding (MoUs) covering $800-$900 million worth of investments with Malaysian investors would be signed on Friday, Radio Pakistan reported.

The memoranda will cover deals in IT, telecom, power generation, textile, agriculture, and halal food industries, according to Radio Pakistan.

“We believe Malaysia will be an opening for us to the ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) countries,” Dawood said.

The Malaysian prime minister’s bilateral engagements also include a call on President Arif Alvi, and a one-on-one meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan, followed by delegation-level talks, state radio network reported.

The two prime ministers are scheduled to speak at the roundtable meeting of the chief executive officers, who desire to invest in Pakistan’s automobile and telecommunication sectors.

Meanwhile, Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr. Muhammad Faisal, in a statement said the visit of the Malaysian prime minister will further cement the existing brotherly and friendly relations between the two countries.

He said the focus of the visit will be on enhancing economic, trade, investment, and defence ties for the mutual benefit of the peoples of the two countries.

Both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have also each offered Islamabad loan packages of $3 billion.

During a visit in February, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had signed investment agreements worth $20 billion with Islamabad, including a $10 billion refinery and petrochemicals complex in the southwestern port city of Gwadar.

Neighbouring China has pledged nearly $60 billion for energy and road and rail infrastructure projects as part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), known as China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Dawn

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