Nawaz Sharif’s Bahrain visit historic
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s successful and historic visit to Bahrain on the invitation of King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa is all set to herald a new era of cooperation between Pakistan and the Kingdom of Bahrain and pave the way for further expansion of bilateral relations. The extremely warm welcome accorded to prime minister and his delegation is a clear indication of the importance and significance that Gulf kingdom attaches to its growing relations with Pakistan and its people. Upon his arrival Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was received at the airport by his Bahraini counterpart Prince Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa who was accompanied by four deputy prime ministers, several ministers and senior members of the Royal family of Bahrain.
After an impressive guard of honor both premiers had meaningful and fruitful discussions aimed at expanding and upgrading the nature of bilateral relations by increasing the level cooperation between the governments and the people of both countries. Both leaders recognised the growing potential of enhancing trade, commerce and economic ties and agreed on a framework that would pave the way in this regard by identifying key areas of focus. The Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif highlighted the investment opportunities in Pakistan and reiterated the significance of setting up a Pakistan energy fund in which Bahraini and Pakistani businessmen can jointly invest to work in Pakistan’s energy sector which offers attractive rate of return.
Additionally, the abundant opportunities of cooperation in the fields of agriculture, livestock, oil and gas were also discussed. Nawaz Sharif also reiterated Pakistan’s ability to provide quality and skilled manpower to Bahrain to meet its human resource needs.
Later, Bahraini ministers of Energy, Labour and Manpower also called on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to reaffirm the willingness and commitments to take forward these discussions in a productive, meaningful and result oriented manner and follow up visits were agreed to finalize plans. Moreover, both sides also signed various memoranda of understanding that will provide an effective frame-work aimed at upgrading and enhancing the bilateral cooperation between Pakistan and the Kingdom of Bahrain.
His Majesty King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa, being a great friend of Pakistan accorded a Royal welcome to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his delegation to his Palace. The warmth, happiness and cordiality was clearly visible as His Majesty spoke about the historic relations between the two countries and regarded Pakistan as his second home. He expressed his desire to continue efforts to bring the people and governments of both countries closer together. Also present was Crown Prince Salman Bin Isa Al Khalifa, the senior Royal family members and key government ministers.
While expressing his appreciation for the warm welcome, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif took this opportunity to share with His Majesty his vision for building a progressive, peaceful and stable Pakistan. The prime minister spoke positively and effectively to articulate his government’s plans to tackle the energy crises, eliminate extremism and create and business friendly environment that paves the way for economic development which would lead to addressing the basic needs of the common man. The premier expressed his confidence that Pakistan has a bright future and all stakeholders in Pakistan have agreed to unite their efforts and this is a historic expression of unity in Pakistan’s national interest is a great omen for the progress and prosperity of the country.
At the delegation level talks both leaders shared their outlook on regional and global geo-political situation and agreed to work together for peace and stability. There was agreement on both sides to promote political and economic relations, tourism and people-to-people contacts between both countries and to encourage private sector cooperation. The announcement by King Hamad Al Khalifa to establish The King Hamad University Hospital in Pakistan is another indication of the love and affection that His Majesty has for the people of Pakistan, and this was warmly welcomed by the prime minister.
I had the pleasure of accompanying the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on this historic visit and I must say that the opportunities of cooperation between both countries are abundant. The Kingdom of Bahrain is an important country in the Gulf region with a strategic location that provides a gateway into the Gulf states and the GCC (Gulf cooperation Council states). The country offers tremendous scope of further enhancing our bilateral ties especially in trade, investment, infrastructure development, as well as energy, livestock and agriculture. Therefore, in my opinion to complement government efforts the private sector also needs to come forward. There is a need to create a platform that encourages private sector cooperation and creates opportunities of business to business interaction. In this context we are already working on creating a “Pakistan–Bahrain Opportunities Forum” that would not only provide such a platform but also explore ways to further expand our cooperation in every field.
So, this important and historic visit by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to the Kingdom of Bahrain has provided the opening that would prove instrumental in upgrading, enhancing and expanding Pakistan’s relations with the Kingdom of Bahrain.
The writer is Pakistan’s Ambassador at Large & Prime Minister’s Special Envoy based in Gulf region. He can be reached on jmambassadorsoffice.com
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