COLOMBO: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif presented a book, ‘Majestic Pakistan’, to his Sri Lankan counterpart Ranil Wickremesinghe at its launching ceremony here on Monday.

A Pakistan-Sri Lanka friendship anthem prepared by the Pakistan High Commission in Colombo was also launched on the occasion.

The event, organised by the Pakistan High Commission, was attended by Begum Kalsoom Nawaz, Commerce Minister Khurram Dastagir Khan, Minister for Defence Production Rana Tanveer Hussain, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi, National Security Advisor retired Lt Gen Nasir Khan Janjua and Pakistan’s High Commissioner retired Maj Gen Syed Shakil Hussain.

Also read: Sri Lanka, Pakistan sign six MoUs to enhance cooperation

Sri Lanka’s first lady was also present on the occasion.

Majestic Pakistan launched in English, Sinhalese and Tamil languages is a compilation of photographs depicting the beautiful scenery of different areas of Pakistan and is aimed at promoting the country’s tourism abroad. The book also highlights Pakistan being home to old Buddhist civilisation, which is held in high esteem in Sri Lanka’s socio-religious culture.

Later, Prime Minister Sharif and Mr Wickremesinghe, along with other dignitaries, attended a dinner reception hosted by the Pakistan High Commission.

Earlier, Mr Wickremesinghe received Mr Sharif on his arrival at the Bandranaike International Airport. A red carpet was rolled out for Prime Minister Sharif and a contingent of Sri Lankan forces presented a static guard of honour to him. Two children clad in traditional dresses presented bouquets to Mr Sharif and Begum Kalsoom.

The prime minister is undertaking the visit on the invitation of Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena. He will hold meetings with the Sri Lankan leadership on issues of mutual interest.

During his stay in Colombo, the prime minister will lead bilateral and delegation-level talks with the Sri Lankan president, prime minister and ministers.

The two countries will sign several agreements and memoranda of understanding in the areas of health, science and technology, trade, statistics, gem and jewellery, money laundering and terrorism financing and culture.

Prime Minister Sharif will deliver a special lecture to parliamentarians, ministers and members of diplomatic corps on the invitation of the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies.

He will visit the Sacred Temple of the Tooth Relic, International Buddhist Museum and Jinnah Hall in the historic city of Kandy.

The two governments have maintained high-level bilateral interactions, including President Maithripala’s visit to Pakistan from April 5-7 last year. Prime Minister Sharif and President Maithripala also met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session in New York in September and the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Malta in November last year.

The two countries enjoy friendly and cordial relations. Their diplomatic relations were established in 1948.

Being members of Saarc and Commonwealth, Pakistan and Sri Lanka cooperate closely and coordinate with each other on issues of common interest and regional and international concern.

Published in Dawn, January 5th, 2016

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