NAEK Emphasizes The Need To Transform Multidimensional Pak-Sri Lankan Relations As An Icon For Regional Peace And Prosperity

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Islamabad: Chairman Senate Farooq H. Naek has emphasized the need to further broaden cooperation in political, economic and cultural fields between Pakistan and Sri Lanka in order to cement their friendship and place their multi-dimensional relation on high pedestal to utilize potentials of two countries for ultimate progress and prosperity of their people. Naek added, ‘Pakistan greatly values its relation with Sri Lanka as these are based on mutual trust and shared interest’. He was expressing these views while interacting with Sri Lankan President H.E. Mahinda Rajapaksa as Naek called on the President here today.

Chairman recalled his visit to Sri Lanka representing Pakistan on the swearing in ceremony of Sri Lankan President. Naek conveyed his appreciation to the President for providing assistance by Sri Lankan Government by sending two teams of Sri Lankan doctors combating the Dengue fever in Punjab.

Naek reiterated the Pakistan’s stance ‘we fully support the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Sri Lanka. We are happy to note that Sri Lankan Government has made progress in bringing peace and rehabilitation in the country’.

Chairman Senate said that there is dire need for more Parliamentary exchanges to generate better understanding and learning from each other’s experience. Naek recalled the visit of Sri Lankan speaker to Pakistan last year and said it is a good gesture and such tradition must continue.

He told the Sri Lankan President that Pakistan’s Parliament will be fully represented in the CPA conference that will be hosted by Sri Lanka in September this year and indeed will provide an excellent opportunity of Parliamentarians of two sides to have close interactions and discourse.

Chairman Senate Naek also stressed the need for learning from Sri Lankan experience in education and health services as Sri Lanka has 98% literacy rate and free of cost health services. The Sri Lankan President told Chairman that education is totally free in Sri Lanka, the students are provided free text books uniforms and a stipend.

As far as health services are concerned the government hospitals provide free services to people whether rich or poor and even foreigners. Teacher exchange programmes at difference levels as well as health experts exchange can help learning from each other’s experience.

Talking about trade potential and economic ties between the two countries, Chairman Senate stressed the need to increase trade volume up to two billion dollar over next three years and exchange of business delegations as well as holding of single country exhibitions for maximum usage of existing potentials and fully utilize the benefit of free trade agreement between Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Currency swap agreement and direct shipping services can lead to enhance trade and more connectivity, Naek added.

Chairman said that both the countries should enhance their cooperation in security related matters and counter-terrorism and must make concerted efforts to eliminate this menace for peace and prosperity to flourish.

Deliberating about enhancing cultural ties and people to people contacts Chairman told Sri Lankan President that Pakistan is a home to a large number of sacred relics of Buddha and Sri Lankans must visit Pakistan as tourists.

Responding Sri Lankan President said that Sri Lanka attached immense importance to our strategic and special relations with Pakistan. We desire to strengthen our bilateral relations by enhancing cooperation in all fields particularly our bilateral trade, commercial ties and security cooperation.

He thanked Government of Pakistan for the support and cooperation extended to Sri Lanka in curbing the menace of terrorism and added that Sri Lankan Pakistani relations had matured over the years with diversification encompassing key areas of cooperation.

Those present during the meeting were Deputy Chairman Senate Jan Muhammad Khan Jamali, Leader of House Syed Nayyer Hussain Bukhari, Leader of Opposition Molana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, Senator Haji M. Adeel, Raja Zafarul Haq and Secretary Senate Iftikharullah Babar.

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