ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Ch. Nisar Ali Khan has said that stronger Pak-Sri Lankan partnership was key to promoting greater cooperation in the region, strengthening regional platforms and was also a bulwark against the challenges facing the region including the issue of terrorism and poverty besides warding off any self-assumed notion of hegemony in the region.
This he said while talking to former president of Sri Lanka Percy Mahinda Rajapaksa in Islamabad at Punjab House on Thursday when the latter called on him along with his delegation.
The Sri Lankan delegation included Mr. Gamini Lakshman Peris, former foreign Minister, Mr. Dullas Dhaham Kumara Alahapperuma, former Minister, Mr. Wimmal Weerawansha, former Minister, Mr. Lokubandara Udith Sanjaya and Mr. Yoshitha Kanishka Rajapaksa.
Welcoming the visiting delegation the Minister remarked that the former president Rajapaksa Mahinda is known to Pakistani people as one of the true friends of Pakistan who, during his tenure, not just added great strength to the Pak-Sri Lankan relations but was also instrumental in diversifying this equation in all possible areas of mutual cooperation.
The Minister while expressing satisfaction over the steady and upward trajectory of Pak-Sri Lankan economic, political, socio-cultural and defence cooperation observed that our relations spanning over six decades are characterized by spirit of sincerity, friendship, mutual respect, understanding and mutual cooperation for the benefit of our people.
Interior Minister said that Pakistan and Sri Lanka face challenges of similar nature and our strategic friendship is critical not only to ward off hegemonic intentions in the region but also to fight our mutual challenges and issues. If poverty, natural calamities and socio-economic conditions pose challenges to our ordinary people, the issues of terrorism, volatile regional peace and instability threaten us at the state level thus impeding our march towards progress and securing brighter and secure future for our people, continued the Interior Minister.
He said that the tenure of former president Rajapaksa has provided the two countries with a solid base to further build on gains of the past and broaden the scope of the existing relations by exploring new avenues of cooperation especially in the areas of economy, security, border management, capacity building of law enforcement agencies, fighting illicit drug trade and human trafficking.
The two leaders also discussed regional situation. There was unanimity of views that Pak-Sri Lankan relations and bilateral cooperation needs to be further strengthened.
Former president Rajapaksa thanked the Interior Minister and the Government of Pakistan for the warm welcome that was extended to him and his delegation during his visit and expressed the hope that the two countries would continue to tread the path that leads to greater cooperation and greater understanding between the two countries in the years to follow.—Radio Pakistan