KUALA LUMPUR: Many people in Pakistan regard Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as their idol and hail his leadership, according to a journalist from Pakistan.
Javaid Ur Rehman, the Kuala Lumpur correspondent for Pakistan’s 92 News television news channel, said it came as no surprise when Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan extended an official invitation for Dr Mahathir to attend the Pakistan National Day celebration on March 23 as the chief guest.
Imran Khan, during his first official visit to Malaysia in November last year, had said that he looked to Dr Mahathir as an inspiration to transform his own country.
The Pakistan cricket legend had become Pakistan’s 22nd prime minister in July 2018.
Javaid, who has been in Malaysia for almost 10 years, said: “Tun Dr Mahathir is one of the most popular leaders in Pakistan and we look up to Malaysia as an Asian (economic) Tiger. We hope for the best.”
He said the close relations between Pakistan and Malaysia took a leap forward with the visit of Imran Khan.
“It was a visit long-awaited by the Pakistani people to ensure that the good relations and the solidarity between the two Muslim countries will continue,“ he told Bernama.
Javaid said Malaysia was a major focus for Pakistanis, whether for work or travel, because they were drawn to the beauty of the environment and admired the multiracial and religious harmony of the country.
The journalist said that during his stay here he has sent about 90 to 100 articles on Malaysia to Pakistan.
He said there was much to write about in Malaysia because the country is one of the most important hubs in Southeast Asia and an Asian Tiger in economic terms.
He also said that Malaysia regularly organises major events such as the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (Lima), Defence Services Asia Exhibition and Conference (DSA), and international sporting events.
“Apart from these, the yearly cultural events have been the main focus to show how Malaysians live together in this multiracial country, and this can be an example for the Pakistani people,“ he said.
Javaid suggested that the two countries conduct student-exchange and cultural-exchange programmes to strengthen ties, share experiences and learn the cultures of the two countries.
“I invite Malaysians to visit Pakistan so that they can experience its beautiful culture, people, food and its natural scenery while strengthening the relations between the two beautiful countries,“ he said.
Pakistan is Malaysia’s third largest trading partner among the South Asian countries.
In 2017, the total trade between Malaysia and Pakistan was at RM5.76 billion, an increase of 3.5% from the volume in 2016. — Bernama