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Bahrain king holds talks at Military HQs

ISLAMABAD – King of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa along with his delegation visited Joint Staff Headquarters in Rawalpindi on Wednesday.
On his arrival, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Rashad Mahmood received the King.
Federal Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Chief of the Army Staff General Raheel Sharif, Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Mohammad Asif Sandila and Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt were also present on the occasion.  Both the sides discussed the brotherly relations between the two countries and vowed to further enhance military cooperation.
Paying rich tribute to Pakistan’s military for its valour and sacrifices in defence of the motherland, King Hamad particularly praised professionalism, quality of training and commitment of the Pakistan’s Armed Forces.
Earlier, the King was presented a guard of honour by a smartly turned out contingent of tri-services.
President Mamnoon Hussain has called for translating the political goodwill and fraternal bonds existing Pakistan and Kingdom of Bahrain into a strong economic and trade partnership to the mutual benefit of the people of the two countries.
The President said this during his meeting with the King of Bahrain Shaikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa at the Presidency here on Wednesday.  The two leaders exchanged views on Pakistan- Bahrain bilateral relations and regional and international issues of mutual interest.
Welcoming the King of Bahrain on his visit to Pakistan, the President said that Pakistan attaches great importance to its close and fraternal ties with Bahrain and desires to further consolidate and strengthen these ties in diverse fields.
Pakistan and Bahrain enjoy close and cordial relations based on mutual trust and understanding and deeply rooted in our culture and history, the President stated.
He said that the two countries have always stood by each other in testing times and appreciated the assistance extended by the Kingdom of Bahrain to Pakistan in difficult times including the natural calamities in Pakistan over the years.
The two leaders expressed satisfaction that the two brotherly countries enjoy similarity of views on bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest.
Discussing bilateral trade ties, the President said that economic and trade relations between the two countries have been gradually improving, however, these were still well below the real potential existing between Pakistan and Bahrain. He urged the need for regular holding of the Joint Commission’s meetings as it provides a good platform for reviewing status of bilateral economic and trade cooperation. The Chambers of Commerce and Industry of both countries need to be encouraged to have regular interaction and revitalize the Joint Business Council, the President stated.
Highlighting the business and investors friendly initiatives of the government, the President invited Bahrain’s investors and businessmen to avail the investment opportunities and the incentive packages, the present government offers for investment in diverse areas including trade, energy, agriculture, livestock, textile and others.  The President said that Pakistan would welcome Bahraini investments in mega projects in the field of energy, downstream oil industry, port development, mining and minerals, infrastructure, banking and financial sectors.
The President expressed the hope that the impressive business delegation accompanying the King would help bring the business communities especially the private sectors of the two countries further closer and consolidate Pak- Bahrain trade ties.
The President expressed the confidence that the various MoUs and agreements signed during the visit of the King of Bahrain in various fields would explore new avenues of mutual cooperation and would help boost Pak-Bahrain trade and economic ties to new heights.
President Mamnoon said that Pakistan has keen interest in concluding a free trade agreement with the Gulf Cooperation Council and sought Bahrain’s support in early conclusion of the agreement.
The agreement, he said, would pave the way for increased commercial activity between Pakistan and the Gulf countries.
Commenting on Pakistani diaspora in Bahrain, the President said that sizeable Pakistani community working and living in Bahrain serves as a bridge between the two brotherly countries.
The King of Bahrain thanked the President, the Prime Minister and the government of Pakistan for the warm welcome and hospitality extended to him and his accompanying delegation and said that Pakistan was like a second home to him.
Later, the President hosted a banquet in honour of the King and the visiting delegation.

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