Islamabad: Malaysia and Pakistan signed Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) for five “big projects” on Friday, Finance Minister Asad Umar revealed during an informal discussion with journalists.
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad is paying a three-day visit to Pakistan, along with a high-level delegation including leading businessmen, on Prime Minister Imran Khan’s invitation.
The finance minister said Malaysia has shown interest in purchasing JF-17 Thunder fighter jets, halal meat and rice from Pakistan. He said that Islamabad would soon fulfil its agreement to provide anti-tank missiles to Malaysia.
Umar said that both countries had also agreed to open branches of their respective banks in each other’s countries, and that Pakistan would try to make use of Malaysia’s knowledge of tourism as it looks to revive the local industry.
Both leaders are currently attending the Pak-Malaysia Business Leaders’ Roundtable Conference, where they addressed business leaders of both countries.
At the investment conference, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday praised his counterpart’s outspoken stance on issues affecting Muslim communities once again.
“You say things which other Muslim leaders are scared to say. And it’s because a lot of them are not leaders. They are office-holders. Leaders are the ones who have an ideology, who have a clear stand on moral issues, and who take positions. Unfortunately, non-leaders do not take positions. They want to please everyone,” he pointed out.
“It’s because of the stands you have taken over the course of a period of time […] That’s why there is such a great response to you honouring us on an occasion which is very important for us, March 23,” he told Mohamad.
The prime minister said the conference was about “improving increasing trade between the two countries, learning from the Malaysian model, and investment opportunities”.
He said both countries had decided on the formation of a “strong ministerial-level committee which will meet regularly and keep interacting, so we know exactly how we can keep enhancing and increase trade between the two countries.”
Earlier today, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad was given a welcome reception at PM House. The national anthems of both countries were played and the visiting dignitary was given a Guard of Honour by a contingent of the armed forces.
Following the ceremony, the visiting dignitary met President Arif Alvi and held a one-on-one meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The top-level meetings were followed by delegation-level talks and a joint press conference addressed by both Mohamad and Prime Minister Khan.
An investiture ceremony was held at the Aiwan-i-Sadr in the evening where the Malaysian prime minister was awarded a Nishan-i-Pakistan, the highest civil honour in the country. A banquet was held in his honour following the ceremony.
Tomorrow, Mohamad will be the chief guest at the Pakistan Day parade.
Earlier today, at the joint press conference following their meetings, Prime Minister Imran Khan appreciated his counterpart for taking a stand for Muslims a week after the Christchurch terror attacks.
“Unfortunately, very few Muslim leaders do take stands on the issues that affect the other Muslim world,” the prime minister said.
“We also admire you for your stand against corruption,” the premier added. “We actually believe that countries are not poor, corruption make them poor. Corruption destroys state institutions.”
“We almost took pride in the way Malaysia developed and raised the standard of living and became like a model for the Muslim world, and that too under your premiership,” he told Mahathir Mohamad.
The premier said that all Muslims across the world are blamed for any crime committed by any Muslim. He held Islamophobia responsible for the New Zealand terror attacks.
“Any crime committed by a Muslim is immediately blamed on all 1.3 billion Muslims and this was reflected in the Christchurch killings where a man, a terrorist, brazenly filmed shooting innocent women and children and innocent people in a mosque and then he didn’t regretted. This was because of Islamophobia.”