ISLAMABAD: Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad arrived here on Thursday (Mar 21) for a three-day official visit to Pakistan.
The aircraft carrying Mahathir touched down at the Pakistan Air Force Nur Khan airbase in Rawalpindi at about 7.50pm local time.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan himself welcomed Mahathir.
Also present to welcome Mahathir were the country’s Planning, Development and Reform Minister Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiyar, Malaysian Deputy Foreign Minister Marzuki Yahya, Malaysian Foreign Ministry secretary-general Muhammad Shahrul Ikram Yaakob and Malaysian High Commissioner to Pakistan, Ikram Mohammad Ibrahim.
A highlight of the visit is Mahathir being conferred the Nishan-e-Pakistan or Order of Pakistan, the country’s highest civilian award, by Pakistan President Arif Alvi on Friday.
The Malaysian leader will also attend the Pakistan Day 2019 parade at the Shakarparian parade ground in Islamabad on Saturday as the guest of honour.
Mahathir will be accorded an official welcome by Khan at the Prime Minister’s House on Friday morning. After that, the two prime ministers will have a four-eyed meeting, which will be followed by a delegation meeting between Malaysia and Pakistan.
Later, the two prime ministers will attend a roundtable meeting with the captains of industry of Malaysia and Pakistan at a hotel here.
The two prime ministers will also witness the symbolic groundbreaking for a Proton manufacturing assembly plant in Sindh province. They will also witness the signing of memorandums of understanding and agreement between Malaysian and Pakistan companies.
Mahathir’s visit is at the invitation of his counterpart Khan to attend the Pakistan Day celebration, which is observed on March 23 every year.
This is Mahathir’s first visit to Pakistan since becoming Malaysia’s seventh prime minister last year. When he was prime minister for the first time, from 1981 to 2003, he visited Pakistan thrice, in 1984, 1997 and 2002.