Khan’s visit shows his deep affinity with Sri Lanka – PM

CEYLON TODAY | Published: 2:00 AM Feb 24 2021
News Khan’s visit shows his deep affinity with  Sri Lanka – PM

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and his entourage who arrived in the country for a two-day official visit yesterday (23), was welcomed at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) by his Sri Lankan counterpart Premier Mahinda Rajapaksa, the PM’s Office said in a Media release.

The Pakistani Premier is accompanied by a high-level delegation, including members of the Federal Cabinet and senior officials.

Khan, who captained the Pakistani cricket team, won the ICC World Cup in 1992 and is Pakistan’s 22nd Prime Minister. This is Khan’s first visit to Sri Lanka since taking office and is his maiden overseas tour for 2021. The visiting Head of State was accorded a 19-gun salute by the Armed Forces upon his arrival before inspecting a guard of honour. 

Army Commander and Chief of Defence Staff, General Shavendra Silva and other senior military figures were also in attendance.

Afterwards Khan made a note in the Golden Book maintained for visiting Heads of State at the BIA.

The former Pakistani cricketer turned PM is accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, Secretary Foreign Affairs Sohail Mehmood and senior officials of the Pakistan Government. 

Khan’s visit symbolises his and the Pakistani Government’s deep affinity with the people of Sri Lanka, PM Rajapaksa said during bilateral discussion held with Khan yesterday evening. 

The PM said, “You are the first foreign Head of Government to visit Sri Lanka after I assumed office as the Prime Minster of Sri Lanka after the General Elections last year. On my invitation, you have chosen to visit Sri Lanka with great friendship, despite great challenges, including COVID-19 risks. I admire your courage and the great leadership that is evident in crucial decisions you have taken at times of crises.”

Furthermore, the PM said that both Sri Lankan and Pakistani Governments have a people-centric governance agenda which strives towards empowering grassroots level communities and the underprivileged.

“The ties between our two countries are closely linked by history, culture, religion, and our deep bilateral cooperation has become an all-weather friendship which has withstood the test of time. Relations between our two nations have now expanded to many sectors. But we have great potential before us to further strengthen bilateral cooperation.

I must thank you for accompanying a strong business delegation with promising signs of investments and commercial partnerships. At a time of economic uncertainty, such private sector investments will greatly benefit both our economies,” the PM stated. 

Prime Minister Imran Khan and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa signed five economically important agreements at the Temple Trees yesterday (23). The signed agreements are;

1.    Memorandum of Understanding between the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka on Tourism Cooperation.

2.    Memorandum of Understanding between the board of investments of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.

3.    Memorandum of Understanding between the Institute of Industrial Technology and the Karachchi University.

4.    Memorandum of Understanding between the Colombo Institute of Technology and University of Islamabad (COMSATS).

5.    Memorandum of Understanding between the University of Colombo and the Lahore Economic College, Pakistan.

Khan is accompanied by a high-powered business and investment delegation consisting business leaders in Pakistan, mainly from sectors of textile and apparel, pharmaceuticals, agro-food commodities, sports goods, gems and jewellery, auto parts, ICT, construction material and surgical equipment.

CEYLON TODAY | Published: 2:00 AM Feb 24 2021

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