PM Imran arrives in Malaysia on two-day official visit

Updated Feb 03 2020

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This is PM Imran Khan's second visit to Malaysia since assuming office. — AFP/File
This is PM Imran Khan's second visit to Malaysia since assuming office. — AFP/File

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday arrived in Kuala Lumpur on a two-day official visit to the country on the invitation of Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

The premier was received by Malaysia's Minister for Defence Mohamad Sabu and senior officials of the Malaysian government upon his arrival at Bunga Raya Complex, Kuala Lumpur International Airport. High Commissioner of Pakistan in Malaysia Amna Baloch and officers of the high commission were also present.

According to the Prime Minister's Office, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar, Commerce Adviser Abdul Razak Dawood and Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood are accompanying the prime minister.

In his first engagement of the visit, Prime Minister Imran exchanged views with the Malaysian defence minister at the Kuala Lumpur airport.

Imran is expected to hold a meeting with the Malaysian prime minister followed by delegation-level talks. The two will also be present at the signing ceremonies of important agreements between the two countries and have a joint press stakeout, said a press release issued by the Foreign Office on Sunday,

The prime minister will also address an event organised by the Institute of Strategic and International Studies in Malaysia.

The two-day visit will provide the countries the opportunity to review the full spectrum of bilateral relations and will reaffirm Pakistan's resolve to forge a robust economic relationship with Malaysia, the statement read.

It added that in his interactions, Prime Minister Imran will share his vision for Pakistan and underline the country's positive contribution to regional and international peace and security.

"He [Imran] will also highlight human rights violations in occupied Kashmir, emphasise the importance of averting risks to regional peace and stability posed by Indian belligerence, and underscore the importance of a peaceful resolution for the Kashmir dispute," the statement said.

Imran's visit to Malaysia comes after he decided to skip the Kuala Lumpur summit of some 20 Muslim countries last year, reportedly due to pressure exerted by Saudi Arabia, which had extended a helping hand to the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government during its early days to stave off an economic crisis.

At the time, the foreign minister had confirmed that Riyadh and the UAE had concerns about the summit, saying the two countries were worried that the event could cause “division in Ummah” and lead to setting up of an organisation parallel to the existing Saudi-dominated Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

Turkish media later quoted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as saying that Prime Minister Imran had decided against attending the Malaysia summit because of Saudi Arabia's threats of economic sanctions, which allegedly included withdrawing money the kingdom has deposited in the State Bank of Pakistan and replacing Pakistani labour in Saudi Arabia with Bangladeshis.

However, the Saudi embassy in Islamabad had denied "information and fake news" that Riyadh had "pressurised and threatened" Pakistan to refrain from participating in the Kuala Lumpur summit, saying "the relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Islamic Republic of Pakistan are superior to the language of threat."

The Foreign Office, meanwhile, had stated that Pakistan did not participate in the Kuala Lumpur summit because "time and efforts were needed to address the concerns of major Muslim countries regarding possible division in the Ummah".