Sri Lanka and Pakistan inked several pacts ranging from tourism, investment, technology to education while reaching a mutual consensus for information as part of an ambitious action plan to curb arms and drug smuggling yesterday during bilateral talks between Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan who is the first Head of State to visit Sri Lanka since the General Elections in 2019 arrived yesterday on a two-day official visit on an invitation extended by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Premier Mahinda Rajapaksa addressing PM Imran Khan noted that Pakistan continues to be a valuable bilateral partner and Sri Lanka considers Pakistan a close and genuine friend.
“During our bilateral discussions earlier this evening, we agreed to work closely towards enhancing our bilateral cooperation in the economic sector and a number of other areas including trade, investment, science, technology, defence and education,” Prime Minister Rajapaksa said. “We also agreed to pursue the opportunities presented within the framework of the Pakistan-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement. Our talks also focused on important regional and international issues as well as the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.”
Another landmark decision was taken to restart Parliamentary interaction through the Pakistan – Sri Lanka Parliamentary Friendship Groups. “Sri Lanka believes that political stability and regional peace will be the key to achieve sustainable development, economic growth and prosperity in South Asia. We agreed to continue with the current mechanism to curb illegal drug trafficking, arms smuggling and other illegal activities by sharing information through the relevant agencies.”
The Pakistani Premier has also offered his nation’s support in the field of sports particularly assistance to enhance sports training facilities in the country. Today the Pakistani Prime Minister will preside over a business and investment forum. The Premier is accompanied by a strong multi-sector business delegation from Pakistan.
PM Khan is accompanied by a high-level delegation, including members of the Cabinet and senior government officials including Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.
The two countries have maintained strong ties since 1948. The Prime Minister’s visit is expected to further bolster the bilateral relationship. Prime Minister Imran is the first Pakistani leader to visit Sri Lanka after President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa assumed office last year. The Pakistani Premier will hold talks with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa today.
(Source: Daily News – By Rukshana Rizwie)