Malaysia and Pakistan leaders reaffirm close ties

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan shakes hands with Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad after a joint news conference in Putrajaya, Malaysia, on Tuesday. (Reuters)
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Updated 05 February 2020

Malaysia and Pakistan leaders reaffirm close ties

  • Kuala Lumpur seeks to export its palm oil to Islamabad to offset pressure from Delhi

KUALA LUMPUR: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has expressed gratitude for Malaysia’s support on the issue of Kashmir and reaffirmed his country’s commitment to fostering bilateral ties with the Southeast Asian country during an official visit on Tuesday.

Khan thanked  Mahathir Mohamad, for “standing with (Pakistan) and speaking about the injustice in Kashmir.”

“I want to specifically thank the prime minister — the way the prime minister spoke about what the people of Kashmir are going through right now. Unfortunately, a very radical and extreme government has taken over in India and has put the people of Kashmir in an open prison for six months,” he said during a joint press conference.

Mahathir was very critical of India’s military lockdown in Kashmir during a speech at the 74th UN General Assembly in New York on Sept. 27, and has defended his stance since then despite a backlash by New Delhi which threatened to cut palm oil imports from Malaysia. 

Malaysia is one of the largest producers of palm oil in the world, while India is one of the largest consumers of global palm oil.

As a result, Malaysia is looking at exporting its palm oil to Pakistan. “We did talk about the sale of palm oil and Pakistan is quite ready to import more palm oil from Malaysia,” the 94-year-old Malaysian leader said on Tuesday. 

The two-day visit is Khan’s second trip to Malaysia since assuming office in 2018.

FASTFACT

The two-day visit is Imran Khan’s second trip to Malaysia since assuming office in 2018.

Khan’s two-day visit included a talk at the International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies (IAIS) in Malaysia, where he shared his view on Islamophobia.

His visit also saw both countries reaffirming their bilateral partnership in the economy, defense, law enforcement, tourism and education.

These included reaffirming the 2007 Malaysia-Pakistan Closer Economic Partnership Agreement (MPCEPA) and witnessing the signing of the Treaty of Extradition to enhance security and transnational crime cooperation.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who accompanied Khan during the visit, and Malaysian Law Minister Liew Vui Keong signed the treaty

The two leaders exchanged views on the situation in Palestine, and the Rakhine state in Myanmar involving Rohingya Muslims. They  vowed to “collaborate more closely on the issues affecting Muslims.”

“As two peace-loving Islamic nations, both of us agreed to increase the collaborative efforts between our two countries, to uphold the true values of Islam while strengthening the solidarity of the Muslim Ummah,” Mahathir said.

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SRINAGAR: Nine suspected militants and three soldiers were killed in two separate incidents in Indian-administered Kashmir, officials said Sunday, as authorities enforced a lockdown to combat the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Kashmir, a restive region claimed by nuclear rivals India and Pakistan, had already been under a long-running curfew imposed to quell unrest as New Delhi scrapped the Himalayan valley’s semi-autonomous status on August 5.
Indian army spokesman Col. Rajesh Kalia said five armed militants were killed early Sunday in the northern Keran area close to the de facto border known as the Line of Control (LoC) that divides the disputed territory with Pakistan.
The clashes also left three soldiers dead and critically injured several more, he said in a brief statement.
The fighting came within 24 hours of another gunbattle between suspected rebels and government forces in the southern Kulgam area that left four dead.
Police said all four were militants from the local area.
Kashmir has waged a three-decade-long armed rebellion against Indian rule with tens of thousands of lives, mostly civilians, lost in the conflict.
India regularly accuses its arch-rival Pakistan of arming and sending rebels across the heavily militarised border. Islamabad denies the claims.