MANAMA–Pakistan and Bahrain have signed several agreements and MoUs (Memorandum of Understanding) for promotion of existing bilateral relations.
These MoUs include promotion of education, establishing links between Bahrain and Quaid-i-Azam universities, arts and culture, promotion of small and medium scale businesses, and visa exemptions for diplomatic and special passport holders. Both the countries also signed an agreement to declare Islamabad and Bahraini capital Manama as twin cities.
Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif led Pakistan side in delegation-level talks with Bahrain delegation which was led by Prime Minister of Bahrain His Royal Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al-Khalifa at the Gudabiya Palace Wednesday.
The Prime Minister expressed his gratitude to the Bahrain government for extending a warm welcome to the Pakistani delegation. He said that Pakistan and Bahrain share common perceptions on many regional and international issues and have an exemplary record of close cooperation with each other at the UN and other international forums.
The Prime Minister said Pakistan is keen to work with Bahrain to further improve mutual economic relations that reflect the warmth that exists in bilateral relations between the two countries.
He mentioned that there is immense scope for expanding the existing volume of bilateral trade between the two countries which currently stands at $200 million. He regarded Pakistan as an attractive investment destination because of government’s liberal investment policy and high rate of return.
The Prime Minister said Pakistan welcomes investment from Bahrain particularly in the energy sector in Pakistan, including hydropower, coal, oil and gas. He emphasised on the need of reactivating the Pakistan-Bahrain Joint Business Council which was established in 2007.
The Prime Minister thanked the government of Bahrain for sending a message of condolence on Peshawar tragedy. Both sides expressed satisfaction over the status of cooperation between the two countries in the fields of defence and security.
It was agreed that mutual defence cooperation is particularly significant in the wake of ever increasing menace of terrorism and extremism in the region.
The Prime Minister said that fighting terrorism is his government’s major priority and the country remains committed to combating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. Matters relating to around 100,000 Pakistanis living in Bahrain also came under discussion.
The Prime Minister said that Bahrain is one of the favourite destinations for Pakistanis working abroad and welcomed the decision of the Bahrain government to award dual nationality to some of them.
Prime Minister of Bahrain said that Pakistanis are employed in all walks of life in the country including highly skilled professions like security and defence services. He lauded the contribution of Pakistani community towards the stability and socio-economic well being of Bahrain.
Talking about the regional situation the Prime Minister said that Pakistan follows a policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries and wishes to have peaceful and cooperative relations with all countries in the region.
After the talks the two Prime Ministers witnessed signing of an Agreement between the two countries on Exemption from Short Stay Visa for holders of Diplomatic and official passport holders.
In addition the Prime Minister handed over the Instrument of Ratification of the Agreement for the Promotion and Protection of Investments to his Bahrainian counterpart. Later, the Prime Minister of Bahrain also hosted lunch in honour of the Pakistani delegation.
Special Assistants to PM Mr. Tariq Fatemi and Capt. ( R ) Shujaat Azim, Ambassador at Large, Mr. Javed Malik and Pakistan’s Ambassador to Bahrain, Mr. Muhammad Saeed Khan were also present during the meeting along with other senior officials.
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