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Malaysia Rolls Out the Red Carpet for Prime Minister Imran Khan

Besides having one-on-one meeting with Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, PM Khan would also be visiting the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission headquarters

ISLAMABAD (Nov 21, 2018): Back in 2006 and before PTI surged out of political obscurity, Mahathir Mohamad had come to Pakistan to attend a conference “A clash of civilizations or A clash of interests?” on the invitation of Imran Khan.

The seminar was largely attended by cross-section of the society including intellectuals, columnists, journalists, retired generals, bureaucrats, and prominent figures of the city and above all the leaders of all political parties of Pakistan, The News reported.

It was perhaps for the first time in the history of Pakistan that on the invitation of a political party–more specifically by a political rookie then, that a former prime minister of a foreign country visited Pakistan.

Khan’s political critics were also among the guests. Fast forward Nov 2018–more than a decade after Khan’s seminar speakers generally agreed that it was indeed clash of interests and not civilizations, that the new kid on the block is now the Prime Minister of Pakistan–as one would say in the US, the new Sheriff in town.

Both Khan and Dr. Mahathir won shock election victory in their country having used similar narratives, particularly misgovernance and massive corruption.

Their mutual admiration and 12-years back intellectual bonhomie manifested in Dr. Mahathir calling Imran Khan on latter’s victory in July. And Khan traveling to meet Malaysia to meet its leader.

Therefore, Tuesday evening, when PM Khan arrived in capital Kuala Lumpur on a two-day official visit, Malaysia rolled out the red carpet for him.

PM Khan is the first head of state to visit the Southeast Asian country since Mahathir became the PM for a second time earlier this year.

The prime minister and his 92-year-old Malaysian counterpart will hold a one-on-one meeting before the two countries’ delegations delve into detailed discussions.

File photo

Both leaders agree on many global developments, and abhor corruption while carrying the passion to nip it in the bud. So it’s not surprising that Khan would also be visiting the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, according to the New Straits Times.

Mahathir Mohamad is one of the few international leaders whom Khan has always admired including his Vision 2020 which now is being dubbed 2025.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish President; Brazil’s Lula da Silva; and Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore were the other leaders he said he looks up to.

Khan seeks to make Pakistan free of corruption and nepotism and looks toward China and Malaysia on their successful campaigns to improve governance, eliminate corruption and alleviate poverty. Their success stories Khan feels could serve as beacon back home, according to several observers

One of the biggest giveaways would be the two leaders witnessing the signing of an agreement on abolition of visa requirements for travel between the two countries.

Close cooperation on operational level and review of existing bilateral relations, as well as identifying new areas for future collaboration are also on the table. So will be for PM Khan, Mahathir’s insights and philosophy behind his Vision 2020/25 which could be adapted and implemented in ‘Naya Pakistan’.






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