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'Sri Lanka-Pakistan relations based on mutual respect'

Minister Daya Gamage, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya and Pakistani High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Dr. Shahid Ahmad Hashmat cutting the cake commemorating Pakistan's National Day. Picture by Hirantha Gunathilake.

Celebrating Pakistan's National Day on Thursday, Pakistani High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Dr. Shahid Ahmad Hashmat said relations between Sri Lanka and Pakistan were based on mutual respect and not just mutual interest.

The event was held at the Galadari Hotel in Colombo. Primary Industries Minister Daya Gamage was the chief guest at the event, while Speaker Karu Jayasuriya also participated.

Addressing the ceremony, High Commissioner Dr. Hashmat said the Pakistani government was pursuing an agenda of peaceful, bilateral and multilateral relations with neighbouring countries in South Asia.

He asked that the policy of mutual respect also be pursued through all regional engagements such as SAARC, to improve economic integration and political cooperation within SAARC countries.

Pakistan is expected to host the 20th SAARC summit this year.He said that Pakistan and Sri Lanka are two important founding members of regional engagements within the SAARC countries.

“Relations between two countries are marked by mutual respect; not mutual interest only. The main pillar is mutual respect between India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka,” he said. Dr. Hashmat added that President Maithripala Sirisena’s recent visit to Pakistan as the guest of honour at the National Day celebrations, showed the strong relations between the two countries.

He further said that Pakistan would provide unconditional support and commitment to the Sri Lankan government and its people in their endeavour to secure a prosperous future.

“The relations between the two countries are marked by mutual respect and commonality of views on major regional and global issues and close-cooperation in the multilateral fora.

Minister Daya Gamage also addressing the gathering, said that Pakistan and Sri Lanka had always maintained close, cordial and mutually supportive relations which are broad-based and multifaceted.

He said the importance of collaboration between Sri Lanka and Pakistan for promoting cultural, civilisational and trade dialogues, had increased.

Minister Gamage thanked the Pakistani government for its support to Sri Lanka during difficult times, especially during floods and droughts. He also thanked the Pakistani government for the provision of urea to Sri Lanka, despite the heavy domestic demands.The Pakistani Women's Cricket team was also present on the occasion.

The team is currently in Sri Lanka to play the qualifier round of the ICC Women Championship and T20 series against Sri Lanka. During the occasion, the High Commissioner, on behalf of Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain, presented Pakistan’s prestigious civil award Sitara-i-Khidmat to Dr. A. J. A. LakKumar Fernando for his services rendered to Pakistan in the eradication of dengue fever.

Dr. Fernando is the clinical head of the Centre for Clinical Management of Dengue and Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever (CCMDDHF) and is also a renowned paediatrician. At the end of the ceremony, a cake commemorating Pakistan’s National Day, was cut by chief guest Minister Daya Gamage, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya and Pakistani High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Dr. Shahid Ahmad Hashmat.