Bahrain's King Shaikh Hamad Al Khalifa arrives on three-day visit
19 March, 2014
ISLAMABAD: The King of Bahrain, Shaikh Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa, on Tuesday arrived in the federal capital on a three-day official visit to Pakistan. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif welcomed the king at the Nur Khan Airbase.
Meanwhile, both the countries inked six agreements. Two of these pacts, 'Establishment of Joint Ministerial Commission for Bilateral Cooperation' and 'Agreement for the Promotion and Protection of Investment', were signed by finance ministers of Pakistan and Bahrain, while 'Cooperation in Food Security' by Pakistan's minister for national food security and Bahrain's foreign minister.
Similarly, the 'Air Services Agreement' was signed by Pakistan's minister for planning and Bahrain's minister for transport, 'Cooperation between Interior Ministries' was signed by the interior ministers of both countries and 'Cooperation in the Fields of Power and Water' was signed by Pakistan's minister for water and power and minister of state for electricity and water affairs of Bahrain.
Earlier, in a meeting with King Shaikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa at the PM House, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that Pakistan and Bahrain enjoyed close and cordial relations based on mutual trust and understanding.
Welcoming the king of Bahrain, the premier said that Pakistan provided aninvestment-friendly environment and Bahraini investors should avail this opportunity for the best returns. "We will welcome the Bahraini investment in mega projects in the field of energy, downstream oil industry, port development, mining and minerals, infrastructure, banking and financial sectors," he maintained.
He also urged the need to enhance the bilateral trade. "We would like Bahrain to increase its imports from Pakistan of high quality Basmati rice, Halal meat products, poultry, textiles and clothing, sports goods, surgical instruments, carpets, marble and cutlery. Cooperation in agriculture and food sectors would be mutually beneficial also," he noted.
The premier stressed the need for regular Joint Commission meetings as it would provide a platform to review the bilateral economic and trade cooperation. "We will deeply appreciate the Bahraini support for early finalisation of the Gulf Cooperation Council-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement," he added. He said that the institutional framework of Bilateral Political Consultations between the two foreign ministries provided a useful mechanism to review the bilateral relations.
He said that the Pakistani community residing in Bahrain serves as a bridge between the two countries, playing a positive role in the development of Bahrain as well as contributing to Pakistan's economy. "Pakistan has skilled manpower that can play its role in different economic sectors of Bahrain," he added.
Delegations of both the countries also met under the leadership of King of Bahrain and the prime minister of Pakistan. Pakistan's delegation included Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Minister for Water and Power, Muhammad Ishaq Dar, Minister for Finance, Ch Nisar Ali Khan, Minister for Interior, Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for Planning, Sartaj Aziz, Adviser to PM on Foreign Affairs, and Tariq Fatemi, Special Assistant to the PM.
Bahrain's delegation comprised Shaikh Mohammad bin Mubarak bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, Deputy Prime Minister, Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Dhahrani, Chairman of the House of Representatives, Ali bin Saleh, Chairman of Shura Council, Lt Gen Shaikh Muhammad bin Isa Al-Khalifa and Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Salman Al-Khalifa.
Later, Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif hosted a dinner in the honour of the king of Bahrain and the visiting delegation at the PM House.Earlier, when the King of Bahrain Shaikh Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa arrived, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif welcomed the distinguished guest at the Nur Khan Airbase, Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif, federal ministers and services chiefs were also present on the occasion.
A 21 gun salute was offered as the king of Bahrain alighted from the plane. Two children attired in traditional dresses presented bouquets to the visiting dignitary. National anthems of the two countries were played as well.
A smartly turned-out contingent from the armed forces gave a guard of honour to the guest. The King of Bahrain, Shaikh Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa, reviewed the guard of honour and took the salute. The king is accompanied by a high-level delegation including members of cabinet, government officials and eminent businessmen. It is the first visit of a king of Bahrain to Pakistan in the last four decades.