The Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Muhammad has stepped foot in Pakistan. Along with him is a cavalcade of a high-level delegation, including businessmen and investors. The visit of the Malaysian PM should be seen more than reciprocity gesture to the earlier visit of his Pakistani counterpart Mr Imran Khan in November last year. The tour of Mahathir and previous visits of foreign leaders to Pakistan can be seen as a significant success for the PM Khan, his party as well as for Pakistan in the international arena.

Arguably, the new government has taken urgent steps to step up its foreign policy game. The visit of Malaysian PM is expected to herald a new era of economic cooperation between the two sides. Furthermore, many other leaders will also find encouragement to visit Pakistan and seek better relations with the country to benefit from the economic potentials of Pakistan as soon as China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) becomes fully operational.

The government by signing deals worth $900 million in various sectors with Malaysia will attract other states to make investments in Pakistan. After a long time, slowly and gradually, countries like China, Saudi Arabia and now Malaysia investing projects having worth in billions will bring more foreign direct investment (FDI) to Pakistan. The government deserves appreciation for effectively channelising its foreign policy to revive its economy.

Furthermore, the state’s approach to penetrate the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) through Malaysia is a prudent strategy. It is only natural that other members of ASEAN will be now more willing to further strengthen their ties with Pakistan considering the recent visits of leaders of some influential and wealthy nations.

Imran Khan eulogises Mahathir for his leadership qualities and economic vision, as he has said it time and again. It is the perfect opportunity to learn from the Malaysian model of development, as Imran desires. The sooner this desire translates itself into action, the better it will be for Pakistan’s economy.