The event, held at the prestigious Nāgānanda International Institute for Buddhist Studies (NIIBS), was inter alia attended by the former President of Sri Lanka H.E. Mathripala Sirisena, former speaker of the Sri Lankan Parliament Hon. Karu Jayasuriya, Member of Parliament Mr. Imtiaz Baker Marikar, diplomatic corps, prominent Monks, members of All Ceylon Buddhist Council, and a large number of students.
Minister of Buddhassasana Religious & Cultural Affairs Hon. Vidura Wickramanayake was the Chief Guest of the event.
High Commissioner of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to Sri Lanka H.E. Maj Gen. Umar Farooq Burki (HI) (M) in his welcome address gave an over view of the excellent friendly ties between Pakistan and Sri Lanka. While stressing the need for frequent people to people contacts between the two countries, the High Commissioner highlighted the immense potential Pakistan possesses in religious and cultural tourism. In this regard he stressed the need for institutional linkages between the two countries.
The Chief Guest, in his remarks, appreciated the efforts of the High Commission for apprising the Sri Lankan public on huge cultural and religious tourism potential of Pakistan, especially its rich Gandhara heritage. The Minister proposed that the two countries should create a Heritage Forum for bilateral exchange of views and experience.
Presentations and speeches were made by prominent Sri Lankan scholars as well as two eminent speakers from Pakistan i.e Dr Abdul Sammad, Director General Archaeology Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province of Pakistan and Mr. Iqbal Khan, Director Taxila Museum.
Some of the other highlights of the seminar included display of books and pamphlets related to Pakistan’s Gandhara heritage, and launch of a documentary on Gandhara heritage of Pakistan.
In the spirit of close brotherly relations and to further build upon the cultural linkages, an MoU between Pakistan and Sri Lanka on promotion of religious tourism and collaboration in preservation and projection of Gandhara heritage is also at an advance stage.