KUALA LUMPUR: The official visit of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to Malaysia ended on a high note after the wife of his Malaysian counterpart asked to hold his hand for an official photo.
Khan is the first head of government to visit Malaysia since 93-year old Mahathir Mohamad took office in May.
Both leaders congratulated each other on their new role as prime ministers. Khan claimed election victory in July in what he declared as “the fairest” elections despite rumors of rigged votes.
He held a bilateral meeting with Mahathir and “both leaders held fruitful and in-depth discussions, which took place in a warm and cordial atmosphere” according to a joint statement.
Malaysia’s first lady Siti Hasmah Mohamad asks Pakistan's PM: "Can I hold your hand?" before the photo. "Sure"@ImranKhanPTI replies with a smile prompting laughter from those in the audience including PM Mahathir Mohamad @chedetofficial. This is how much IK is loved & respectedpic.twitter.com/tejwlnr5VW
— Sana Jamal (@Sana_Jamal) November 21, 2018
The two Muslim-majority nations will convene their first bilateral consultation in Islamabad next year.
Areas of economic cooperation include halal products, automotive parts and energy.
Other agenda items for discussion were counter-terrorism, human resources, tourism and the halal industry.
“We have followed Dr. Mahathir’s progress, especially since he came to office. My party wants to learn from your experience and how you transformed the economy,” Khan said.
Anti-corruption efforts were also a priority and Khan expressed his keenness to learn from Malaysia.
“The people gave us the power and mandate based on our anti-corruption platform,” he said during a joint press conference, adding that Pakistan was burdened with “unprecedented debt.”
Politicians and civil servants have been charged with corruption, including former prime minister Najib Razak for his alleged involvement in the 1MDB scandal, since Mahathir came to power.
Mahathir thanked Khan for visiting Malaysia. “I am confident that your visit will spur greater cooperation and exchanges between our two countries and peoples, and our two regions,” he tweeted.