Honourable Dato’ Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, Minister of Foreign Affairs Malaysia had a telephone conversation with his Pakistani counterpart, His Excellency Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi on 8 April 2020 at 1330 hours Malaysian time.
The call started with the latter extending his congratulations to Honourable Dato’ Seri Hishammuddin following his appointment as Foreign Minister of Malaysia. Both Foreign Ministers took stock of the long-standing bilateral relations and close cooperation between Malaysia and Pakistan with a view of advancing the relationship to a higher level. It was followed by discussion on the utmost pressing issue the world is confronting now, the COVID-19 pandemic and its negative impact on global economies, people’s health and livelihoods. They also talked about regional and international issues of mutual interest and common concern.
Both Foreign Ministers expressed their appreciation towards each other’s
government for the assistance rendered during this challenging time to their diaspora residing in Malaysia and Pakistan, respectively. The Foreign Minister of Malaysia gave his assurances that Pakistanis in Malaysia would get equal and fair treatment during this trying period and beyond. On the issue of stranded nationals, both Foreign Ministers were in agreement to bring them home to reunite with their loved ones at the earliest available opportunity.
In this context, the Foreign Minister of Malaysia requested the Government of Pakistan to ensure Malaysians in Pakistan desiring to return home were given the necessary assistance and ease of movement to take a special Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight from Islamabad bound for Kuala Lumpur scheduled for this Saturday, 11 April 2020. The Foreign Minister of Malaysia affirmed that the Government of Malaysia would extend the necessary assistance in the repatriation process of three hundred (300) plus Pakistani nationals taking the PIA flight back to Pakistan.
As a way forward, both Foreign Ministers concurred that it was crucial for Malaysia and Pakistan to work in tandem in an effort to contain the spread and mitigate the impact of the virus. They iterated their commitment to overcome the pandemic in the best strategic interests of both countries as well as the world.