Pakistan’s need to improve trade, economic ties with Bahrain: PM Nawaz says

MANAMA: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday said Pakistan was keen to work with Bahrain to further improve mutual economic relations that reflect the warmth existing in bilateral relations between the two countries.

“There is immense scope for expanding the existing volume of bilateral trade between the two countries which currently stands at US $ 200 million,” he said while leading the Pakistan side in the delegation level talks with Bahrain held here at the Gudabiya Palace.

The Bahrainian delegation was led by Prime Minister of Bahrain Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al-Khalifa. Prime Minister Sharif, who also held one-on-one meeting with Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al-Khalifa before the delegation level talks, 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 he regarded Pakistan as an attractive investment destination because of the government’s liberal investment policy and high rate of return.

The Prime Minister said Pakistan welcomes investment from Bahrain particularly in the energy sector, including hydropower, coal, oil and gas. He emphasized on the need of reactivating the Pakistan-Bahrain Joint Business Council which was established in 2007.

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 was his government’s top priority and the country remained 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 was 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 Prime Minister Sharif 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 passports. They also witnessed signing of five MoUs which included:- 1) Between the University of Bahrain and Quaid-e-Azam University;

2) Between the Ministry of Industry and Commerce of Bahrain and Ministry of Commerce of Pakistan on cooperation in the field of small and medium enterprises development;
3) In the field of culture and arts;
4) Cooperation in the field of Education and Higher Education;
5) On twinning of Islamabad and Manama Capital of Bahrain.

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.