ISLAMABAD - To streamline and further expand the existing bilateral trade relations with Bahrain, Pakistan signed agreements for promotion and protection of investment with Bahrain besides signing six other agreements for further enhancing the trade relations between the two brotherly Islamic states.King of Bahrain Shaikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa alongwith his entourage called on Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif at the Prime Minister’s House.Later, Nawaz Sharif said that Pakistan and Bahrain enjoy close and cordial relations based on mutual trust and understanding.Prime Minister said that Pakistan provides better investment environment and Bahrani investors should take this opportunity for best returns.“We 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”, he said. PM also urged the need to enhance bilateral trade and said that “We would like Bahrain to increase its imports from Pakistan of high quality Basmati rice, Halal meat products, poultry, textiles and clothing, sports goods, surgical instruments, carpets, marble and cutlery. Cooperation in agriculture and food sectors would be mutually beneficial also”.Prime Minister stressed the need for regular Joint Commission meetings as it provides good platform to review bilateral economic and trade cooperation. “We would deeply appreciate Bahraini support for early finalization of Gulf Cooperation Council- Pakistan Free Trade Agreement”, he said. Prime Minister said that the institutional framework of Bilateral Political Consultations between the two Foreign Ministries provides a useful mechanism to review bilateral relations. He said that Pakistani community residing in Bahrain serves as bridge between the two countries and have played a positive role in the development of Bahrain as well as contributes to Pakistan’s economy. Pakistan has skilled manpower that can play their role in different economic sector of Bahrain, he added.Earlier, the two countries signed 6 documents at the PM House relating to “Establishment of Joint Ministerial Commission for Bilateral Cooperation” and “Agreement for the Promotion and Protection of Investment” signed by Finance Ministers of both the countries, “Cooperation in Food Security” signed by Pakistan’s Minister for National Food Security and Bahrain’s Foreign Minister, “Air Services Agreement” signed by Pakistan’s Minister for Planning and Bahrain’s Minister for Transport, “Cooperation between Interior Ministries” signed by Interior Ministers of both countries and “Cooperation in the Fields of Power and Water” signed by Pakistan’s Minister for Water & Power and Minister of State for Electricity and Water Affairs of Bahrain.Delegations of both countries also met under the leadership of King of Bahrain and the Prime Minster of Pakistan. Pakistan’s delegation included Khawaja Muhammad Asif Minister for Water & Power, Muhammad Ishaq Dar Minister for Finance, Ch. Nisar Ali Khan Minister for Interior, Minister for Planning Ahsan Iqbal, Sartaj Aziz Adviser to PM on Foreign Affairs and Tariq Fatemi Special Assistant to PM. Bahrain’s delegation comprised Shaikh Muhammad bin Mubarak bin Hamad Al-Khalifa Deputy Prime Minister, Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Dhahrani Chairman of the House of Representatives, Ali bin Saleh Chairman of Shura Council, Lt. Gen. Shaikh Muhammad bin Isa Al-Khalifa and Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Salman Al-Khalifa.Later, the Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif hosted a dinner in honour of the King of Bahrain and the visiting delegation at the PM House.According to a Foreign Office statement, the visit will provide a good opportunity to explore ways and means to further strengthen cooperation in diverse areas of interest, particularly in expanding bilateral trade and enhancing investments in Pakistan. The two sides will also discuss ways to increase export of Pakistani manpower to Bahrain and to facilitate the 100,000 strong Pakistani community residing in the Kingdom, which serves as a bridge between the two brotherly countries and plays a positive role in the development of Bahrain as well as contributes to Pakistan’s economy. The visit is of special significance since it is the first official visit of the king of Bahrain to Pakistan in four decades. The visit gives a new impetus to the existing fraternal bonds between the two countries.Meanwhile, Bahrain’s Minister of the Royal Court of His Majesty the King of Bahrain, Sheikh Ahmed Attiullaha Al-Khalifa called on Special Assistant to PM, Syed Tariq Fatemi, in the ministry of foreign affairs.The special assistant while welcoming Bahrain’s minister stated that the government of Pakistan accorded high priority to its relations with the Kingdom of Bahrain. He underscored that the prime minister was desirous of taking the existing close bilateral relations to new heights.Referring to the existing fraternal relations, the special assistant highlighted that bilateral relations preceded the independence of the two countries in the shape of people to people contact. He expressed the hope that visit the Bahrain king would lead to enhanced relations in all fields, especially in trade and investment.The minister stated that Bahrain attached great importance to Pakistan. He expressed the hope that the visit of the king would usher in a new era of enhanced cooperation between the two countries.This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 19-Mar-2014 here.