The Acting High Commissioner of Pakistan Dr. Sarfraz Ahmed Khan Sipra has said that Pakistan and Sri Lanka have been linked since ancient times, a link which is now 2,300 years old. In 1948, shortly after Independence of Sri Lanka, this link was revived and reborn when the founding father of Sri Lanka, Prime Minister D.S. Senanayake travelled to Pakistan to meet the founding father of Pakistan, Quaid i Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. He underscored that whenever Pakistan needed; Sri Lanka has always been there. Similarly whenever Sir Lanka needed Pakistan, Pakistan has always been there.
Dr. Sarfraz Sipra was addressing the launching ceremony of book “An Enduring Friendship; Sri Lanka and Pakistan” which was organized by the High Commission of Pakistan in a local hotel last evening on the occasion of 70th independence anniversary of Pakistan.
Speaker of Sri Lankan Parliament Hon. Karu Jayasooriya has graced the occasion as the chief guest. Guests of honour included former Sri Lankan Presidents Hon. Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, Hon. Mahinda Rajapaksa, Minister for International Trade, Hon Malik Samarawickrama, Minister for Commerce and Industry Hon. Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister for Primary Industries Hon. Daya Gamage, Minister of State for National Integration and Reconciliation Hon. A.H.M. Fowzie, Minister of State for Rehabilitation and Resettlement Hon. M.L.A.M. Hizbullah, Deputy Minister for Petroleum Resources Development Hon. Anoma Gamage, and Former Foreign Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris. Heads of diplomatic Missions, renowned scholars, intelligencia, representatives of universities, think tanks, and analysts, senior government officials, former Sri Lankan Ambassadors and a large number of people from difference walks of life attended the ceremony as distinguished guests.
Acting High Commissioner Dr. Sarfraz Sipra emphasized that bilateral relationship between Pakistan and Sri Lanka has been an important part of this region. It needs to be comprehensively studied and evaluated. The book narrates the story of this beautiful relationship in a beautiful manner. A story most people would love it. Although it is written by a Sri Lankan author, it reflects the value of both countries. This book will serve to identify areas of further cooperation for younger generations between the two nations. The book has futuristic outlook by suggesting innovative approaches that need to be adopted for reinforcing happily existing friendly Pak-Lanka ties, he added.
On the occasion, author of the book Mr. Arshad Cassim briefed the audience about the book and said that the book narrates the story of a friendship rapidly evolving in a non-military context, following the end of the conflict in Sri Lanka. It explores the potential for greater economic and cultural cooperation.
Editor of the book, Dr. SinhaRaja Tammita Delgoda thanked Government of Pakistan, Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad and the High Commission of Pakistan in Sri Lanka for recognizing the value of this initiative. Their interest and support has enabled this project to reach fruition and made this publication possible.
Dr. SinhaRaja Tammita Delgoda said that Pakistan is an emerging market with the population of over 200 million. Sri Lankan business community must look towards Pakistan for branding of their products.
Speaker Parliament Hon. Karu Jayasooriya said that Pakistan and Sri Lanka have a long history of very cordial and friendly relations. Two countries share commonality of views on a wide range of international and regional issues. Both nations coordinate their positions in multilateral fora and have been helpful to each other during difficult times, he underscored. He thanked the Government of Pakistan for the project of such nature and praised the efforts of High Commission of Pakistan in Sri Lanka for successfully completing the project.
The occasion was exciting and electrical as Sri Lanka and Pakistani music was played to respect the national cultures which the audience highly appreciated.