Lanka’s relations with Pakistan vital - PM
Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka said the friendship between
Sri Lanka and Pakistan is vital at this stage as both countries are
prone to terrorism and as neighbours had stood together in hard times.
He was addressing a seminar on Buddhist Gandhara heritage of Pakistan
recently in Colombo.
He commended the efforts of the government of Pakistan for preserving
the Buddhist architecture and heritage in Pakistan. The Pakistan
government not only has preserved the remnants of Buddhist civilization
in the country but also stood with the Buddhist community during the
destruction to Bamiyan Buddha statues.
He said Buddhist civilization in this region was a seat of learning
and the Buddha’s profound and compassionate message which spread from
this region to India, China, Afghanistan and other countries has changed
the lives of people around the world.
The Prime Minister said Pakistan helped Sri Lanka at a time when
others were forcing us to lay weapons and negotiate to the world’s most
brutal terrorist outfit, LTTE whereas they never thought of talking to
Bin Laden whom they declared a terrorist. Terrorism is posing a serious
challenge to mankind.
Pakistan High Commissioner Shahzad A. Chaudhry said that Pakistan is
a meeting point of various civilizations, cultures and religions since
times immemorial. The most well preserved among all is the heritage of
Buddhist Ghandhara civilization that flourished in Pakistan region
during first to sixth century AD.
The High Commissioner said the Pakistan government welcomes Buddhist
community of Sri Lanka to Pakistan to re-establish relations with the
history and heritage.
The Pakistan government is doing its best to expand opportunities for
Sri Lanka to forge closer links with the Gandhara civilization.
“Pakistan has increased the number of flights from Colombo from 3 to
14 per week to Sri Lankans to visit Pakistan through Karachi, Lahore and
Islamabad and provide easy access to other parts of Pakistan,” he said.
Buddha’s message is a source of light for us in today’s world of
turmoil. The High Commissioner said the Pakistan government has taken
steps to preserve Buddhist sites and heritage and invite Sri Lankans to
visit these places.
Pakistan has many Buddhist shrines, relics, archaeological artifacts
and ancient sites of monasteries and other Buddhist centres of learning
and stupas which are well conserved and open for religious tourism and
The Pakistan High Commissioner distributed copies of Sinhala
translation of the world famous books “Gandhara Art” and “Buddhist
Gandhara - History, Art and Architecture” written by Prof. Emeritus
Ahmad Hassan Dani and Ihsan H. Nadiem.