The bilateral relationship between Sri Lanka and Pakistan will be further strengthened in the future, Urban Development, Water Supply and Drainage Minister Rauff Hakeem said.
Speaking at an international summit on economic, military and cultural affairs between Sri Lanka and Pakistan held in Colombo, Minister Hakeem commended the services rendered by Maj. Gen. Qasim Qureshi for two years as the High Commissioner of Pakistan to Sri Lanka.
Talking about Buddhist-Islam links, Hakeem said as a Sri Lankan-born Muslim, he finds his Islamism easily and comfortably encased in his Sri Lankan patriotism.
“Buddhism is indigenous to Sri Lanka and to the Indian sub-continent where as Islam is a later imposition resulting from both conquest and trade,” he said.
Maj. Gen. Qureshi spoke about the exemplary friendship and association of Sri Lanka-Pakistan relationship.
He said regardless of major significant politico-economic ties, the close relationship between the two countries is very significant where people-to-people contact was concerned. He referred to the Sri Lanka-Pakistan military ties that are remarkably strong to-date. Maj. Gen. Qurehsi made special note of the ties between the two countries during the 1971 Indo-Pakistan war.
He was also personally very impressed about how the cultural ties between the two countries where the Father of the Nation of Pakistan, Mohamed Ali Jinnah and their national poet Allama Iqbal are hailed and remembered at various cultural events in schools and other organisations in Sri Lanka.
A MoU was signed between Vice Chancellor, Buddhist and Pali University Ven Prof Gallelle Sumanasiri Thero, and Chancellor Preston University Pakistan Dr. Abdul Basit for academic collaboration and articles of cooperation between the universities.
Both universities have agreed to promote peace, harmony and understanding among academic community in particular and among the people of Pakistan and Sri Lanka in general. The event was organized by the High Commission of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the Society of Civilizations Pakistan.