UPDATE – Pakistan ‘ready’ to import more palm oil from Malaysia


By Islamuddin Sajid

ISLAMABAD (AA) – Pakistan will import more palm oil from Malaysia in a bid to compensate for the loss suffered by the Southeast Asian nation after New Delhi put restrictions on palm oil trade with Kuala Lumpur, Pakistani and Malaysian premiers said on Tuesday.

“We did talk about [the] sale of palm oil. Of course, Pakistan is quite ready to import more palm oil from Malaysia,” Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said in a joint news conference with his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan in the capital Kuala Lumpur.

Before speaking to reporters, the two leaders held one-on-one and delegation-level meetings in Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur.

“We noticed that India threatened Malaysia for supporting the Kashmir cause, they threatened Malaysia [with] cut in the palm oil imports. Pakistan will do its best to compensate for that,” Khan said.

Last year, India restricted the import of palm oil from Malaysia in a move against the Southeast Asian nation for criticizing New Delhi on Kashmir and its new citizenship law.

During his UN General Assembly address in September last year, Mahathir had said New Delhi "invaded and occupied" Jammu and Kashmir, and called for resolving the issue through “peaceful means”.

Khan thanked the Malaysian premier for speaking about the situation in Kashmir following India's decision to strip disputed Jammu and Kashmir region of its decades-long autonomy on Aug. 5 last year.

"I want to specifically thank prime minister on the way you spoke about what the people of Kashmir are going through right now. India has put the people of Kashmir in open prison for six months. You have stood with us and spoken about this injustice that is ongoing," Khan said.

– Situation of Muslim Ummah

On skipping the Kuala Lumpur summit in last December, Khan said: "I want to say how sad I was that I couldn't attend the conference in Kuala Lumpur in the middle of December.”

“Unfortunately, our friends, who are very close to Pakistan, felt that the conference somehow was going to divide the Ummah. It was clearly a misconception because that was not the purpose of the conference as evident from when the conference took place," Khan said.

For his part, the Malaysian prime minister said they discussed the current situation of Muslim Ummah — including that in Palestine and Rakhine state of Myanmar.

“Both of us agreed to increase the collaborative efforts […] to uphold the true values of Islam while strengthening the solidarity of the Muslim Ummah," Mahathir, said.

He added that he has also shared the outcome of Kuala Lumpur Summit with Khan and discussed the entire spectrum of bilateral relations to further expand ties in different fields — including defense, trade, economy and tourism.

The two leaders said that they also discussed the joint venture of launching a television channel to fight Islamophobia and dispel misunderstandings about Islam.

Last year in October, Khan announced that leaders of Turkey, Malaysia and Pakistan have decided to launch a television channel.

The two countries also signed an extradition treaty.

Khan said one of the wanted criminals in Pakistan who was living in Malaysia was extradited even before the signing of the treaty.

“We [Malaysia and Pakistan] have set the stage for a new phase in our relations […] based on greater cooperation,” Mahathir said.