ISLAMABAD - Pakistan and Bahrain have agreed to forge closer cooperation in view of fast-changing regional scenario. Resolve to realign this new adjustment surfaced during a meeting held here between Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and Commander National Guards of Bahrain Lt-Gen Shaikh Mohammad Bin Isa Bin Salman alKhalifa at Prime Ministers House in Islamabad the other day. The meeting was also attended by the Ambassador of Bahrain in Pakistan and senior officials. According to an official statement, Prime Minister Gilani said that Pakistan attached great importance to its brotherly relations with Bahrain and desired to further strengthen cooperation in all spheres of life. He expressed confidence that the fifth meeting of the Pakistan-Bahrain Joint Economic Commission would be held soon to promote the bilateral links. The PM reiterated that Pakistan supported all efforts for peace and stability in the Islamic world so as to promote development and prosperity of the common people in the region. The Commander of National Guards of Bahrain while reciprocating the prime ministers remarks called for exchange of high-level visits to further strengthen the bilateral relations between the two countries. This is the second unannounced visit by Bahrains Commander National Guards Lt-Gen Salman Al-Khalifa to Pakistan. He was here during December last to meet President Asif Ali Zardari. Latest media reports suggest Bahrains heavy dependence on Pakistan in different fields that obviously include defence and security. In March last, foreign minister of Bahrain Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmad Mohammad Al-Khalifa had held a meeting with Prime Minister Gilani to garner support for Bahrains monarchy in the wake of 'Arab Spring that saw massive uprising in Bahrain and other Middle Eastern countries. Pakistan had earlier endorsed the Saudi-led GCC intervention in Bahrain to shore up the beleaguered government in Manama. Diplomatic sources say despite a general consensus on bolstering defence cooperation, specifics were not discussed. Prime Minister Gilani had a proposal ready with him to offer the Bahraini foreign minister about recruitment of retired Pakistani military personnel in Bahraini defence forces, but such an opportunity did not arise as talks primarily focused on the larger picture and not the details, said a senior official, who had been briefed on the discussions at Mr Khalifas meetings with Pakistani leadership. Pakistan and Bahrain are already cooperating in defence and security. Pakistan had helped Bahrain set up its naval forces and 18 per cent of the Gulf states air force comprises Pakistani personnel. It is estimated that almost 10,000 Pakistanis are serving in security services of Bahrain and one of the key demands of protesters seeking an end to the monarchy has been the removal of Pakistanis from Bahraini forces. Bahrain had in recent past expressed interest in procurement of defence equipment from Pakistan and its (Bahrains) National Guards are currently recruiting security personnel through Pakistani militarys welfare wings Fauji Foundation and Bahria Foundation. Mr Khalifa was quoted in a statement issued by the Prime Ministers House as having expressed satisfaction over the state of defence cooperation. Pakistani leaders in their meetings continued praising King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifas national reconciliation efforts. However, they were told that constitutional reforms for pacifying protesters were not Bahrains priority, Manama instead first wanted to address the security and law and order situation to reconsolidate its authority. The Bahraini foreign minister assured Pakistan of Manamas help in starting strategic dialogue with the Gulf Cooperation Council and pushing for a free trade agreement with the GCC. Contributed