Malaysia and Pakistan enjoy very cordial relations. Both are Muslim states and developing countries. Both are facing similar issues like corruption. There exist many areas where Malaysia has got good experience and Pakistan may learn from Malaysia. There also exist some areas, where Pakistan can contribute to Malaysian developments.
The diplomatic relations between Malaysia and Pakistan were established in 1957. Although the relations between the two countries have been passing through a few challenges and ups-downs. But most of them were based on misunderstandings. But, when the relations have been normal, Pakistan became a supporter to the Federation of Malaysia which they refused to accept the non-inclusion of Brunei and the leaving of Singapore from the Malaysian Federation, Pakistan only established relations with those countries when Malaysia had done so. On 2 October 2005, Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi held out an assurance to Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz during an hour-long meeting that Malaysia will support Pakistan’s bid for a full dialogue partner of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Prime Minister Imran Khan values its relations with Malaysia and has been visited twice since he came into power in 2018. Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir has been to Pakistan as Guest of Honor to Mark Pakistan Day on 23rf March 2019. The recent visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan on 3-4 February 2020, has witnessed warmth in the relationship between Pakistan and Malaysia.
At their one-on-one meeting and subsequent bilateral delegation meeting, both leaders, while recalling the historic elevation of Malaysia-Pakistan relations to the level of Strategic Partnership that they jointly formalized in Islamabad on 22 March 2019, reaffirmed the strong and enduring bonds between the two fraternal countries marked by warmth, cordiality and mutual trust. They agreed that the Strategic Partnership status is a testament to the new level of bilateral cooperation between the two countries in various fields and entails further engagement and enhanced cooperation. They reaffirmed their shared desire to continue to maintain regular high-level contacts, deepen friendly exchanges of visits, and expand cooperation in all fields.
Both leaders held fruitful, in-depth and wide-ranging discussions on bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest. Both leaders expressed their resolve to further expand and deepen bilateral relations at all levels and in all possible areas of cooperation, in particular, those that have been identified in this Joint Statement as well as in their previous Joint Statements dated 21 November 2018 and 22 March 2019. They agreed to pursue and fulfill the existing commitments, inter alia, as follows:
- To convene the meetings of the following existing bilateral mechanisms at the earliest opportunity.
- 4th Joint Commission Meeting (JCM), established pursuant to the Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation Agreement, at the Ministerial level in Islamabad.
- 2nd Session of Bilateral Consultations (BC), at the Senior Officials level in Putrajaya.
- 4th Joint Committee Meeting, established pursuant to the 2007 Malaysia-Pakistan Closer Economic Partnership Agreement (MPCEPA), at the Senior Officials level in order to advance the revision of the Agreement.
- 14th Meeting of the Joint Committee on Defense Cooperation (JCDC) at the Senior Officials level in Rawalpindi.
Malaysia and Pakistan will continue to promote Parliamentary diplomacy through the exchange of visits and regular contacts between the Members of their respective bilateral Parliamentary Friendship Groups. Its mutual visits will be enhanced in the days to come.
Malaysia and Pakistan will further strengthen and expand the bilateral economic, trade and investment ties in the traditional and non-traditional sectors, including by leveraging on the strategic location of both countries to serve as a trade gateway to the vast market in the Southeast Asian, East Asian and the South Pacific regions, and the South Asian, West Asian, Central Asian and Southern Chinese regions, respectively.
Malaysia and Pakistan also collaborate in the heavy industry sector. In this regard, both leaders recalled the symbolic groundbreaking of the Proton Assembly Plant jointly officiated in Islamabad on 22 March 2019 and were pleased to note the progress made at the facility in Karachi, scheduled for completion in the first half of 2021. They were further pleased with the joint venture between Malaysia’s Proton Holdings and Pakistan’s Al-Haj Automotive that add value with the commencement of selling Malaysian-made Proton vehicles (CBU) in Pakistan in the second half of 2020, and eventually, assembly and sale of Pakistan-made Proton vehicles (CKD) in Pakistan in the first half of 2021.
Malaysia and Pakistan will explore institutional collaboration in the area of halal food and services, and consumer products, including by leveraging on their comparative advantages with a view to increasing their global market share in this area.
Recognizing the huge tourism potential in both countries, Malaysia and Pakistan look forward to strengthening bilateral cooperation in the field of tourism, as well as continue to encourage tourism and hospitality investment in both countries.
Malaysia and Pakistan will further enhance educational ties and, in this regard, commended the visits to Pakistan in 2019 by the officials of four Malaysian universities, namely the National University of Malaysia, University Technology PETRONAS, Asia University, and Limkokwing University to explore possible cooperation with the Pakistani universities.
Some new initiatives have been introduced to explore the areas of common interests and mutual benefits to developing this friendship to cover all possible avenues of interest.
Prime Minister of Malaysia will visit Pakistan in the near future to further strengthen the existing ties.
This article was first published in Orientalreview.org