- Rajapaksa-led Lankan delegation calls on interior minister
Minister for Interior Affairs Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Thursday said that stronger Pakistan-Sri Lankan partnership was key to promoting greater cooperation in the region and strengthening regional platforms.
During a meeting with former Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa and his delegation here, he said that the Pak-Lankan partnership was also a bulwark against the challenges facing the region including terrorism and poverty besides warding off any self-assumed notion of hegemony.
Former foreign minister Gamini Lakshman Peris, Dullas Dhaham Kumara Alahapperuma, Wimmal Weerawansha, Lokubandara Udith Sanjaya and Yoshitha Kanishka Rajapaksa were part of the Lankan delegation. Welcoming the delegation, Nisar remarked that Mahinda Rajapaksa was known to Pakistani people as one of their true friends.
During his tenure, the former Lankan president not just added great strength to the bilateral relations but was also instrumental in diversifying this equation in all possible areas of mutual cooperation, he said. Expressing satisfaction over the steady and upward trajectory of economic, political, socio-cultural and defence cooperation, he observed the relations spanning over six decades were characterised by sincerity, friendship, mutual respect, understanding and cooperation.
The minister said that Pakistan and Sri Lanka faced challenges of similar nature and the strategic friendship between the two countries was critical not only to ward off hegemonic intentions in the region but also to fight the mutual challenges and issues. “If poverty, natural calamities and socio-economic conditions pose challenges to our ordinary people, the issues of terrorism, volatile regional peace and instability threaten us at the state level thus impeding our march towards progress and securing brighter and secure future for our people,” he added.
The interior minister said that the tenure of former president had provided the two countries with a solid base to further build on gains of the past and broaden the scope of the existing relations by exploring new avenues of cooperation especially in the areas of economy, security, border management, capacity building of law enforcement agencies, fighting illicit drug trade and human trafficking.
The two leaders also discussed the regional situation. There was unanimity of views that Pak-Sri Lankan relations and bilateral cooperation need to be further strengthened. Rajapaksa thanked the interior minister and the government for the warm welcome that was extended to him and his delegation during his visit.