Colombo: Prime Minister Imran Khan said that Pakistan and Sri Lanka face common problems, including terrorism, because both countries have suffered a lot from this threat. He said that Pakistan faced the worst terrorism in a decade and lost about 70,000 people.
Addressing the joint presser, along with his Sri Lankan Counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa in Colombo, he said Pakistan is part of Belt and Road Initiative of China and CPEC is the flagship project of this programme, which offers great opportunities of connectivity and trade.
Prime Minister Imran Khan emphasized on finding ways and means to enhance trade and connectivity through China-Pakistan Economic Corridor right up to Central Asia for Sri Lanka.
Imran Khan said we discussed areas where we can enhance trading ties between Pakistan and Sri Lanka and the latter can get maximum benefit from the connectivity being offered by the former.
Imran Khan said Pakistan played its part in helping Sri Lanka to curb terrorism from its soil, which was impeding development, growth, and the tourism. He said no country can progress if there is terrorism.
He said that the two countries are now facing another problem with the coronavirus, just like the rest of the world. He said that the Covid-19 pandemic has hit poor countries the hardest, and they should be entitled to debt relief from richer countries.
Inviting the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka to visit Pakistan, Imran Khan said his country has the greatest Buddhist heritage sites and we recently discovered a 40-feet long sleeping Buddha. He said the Northern Areas of Pakistan was center of ancient Gandahara civilization in the region. He also invited people from Sri Lanka to visit Pakistan as it is planning for a Buddhist trail to attract the Buddhist community from all over the world.
Imran Khan also thanked his Sri Lanka counterpart for the warm welcome to him and his delegation.
Mahinda Rajapaksa said in his speech that we have agreed to strengthen bilateral relations in economics, trade, investment, education, defense, tourism, aviation and other fields. He said that the framework of the Pakistan-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement and the framework for strengthening parliamentary interaction between the two countries have also been discussed.
Mahinda Rajapaksa said that we have agreed to work together to combat terrorism and armed struggle through information sharing. He said that political stability and regional peace will be the key to achieving sustainable development, economic growth and prosperity in South Asia.
He also thanked Pakistan for its support to contain terrorism on Sri Lanka’s territory, and thanked Islamabad for its cooperation in the field of sports.
Mahinda Rajapaksa thanked Prime Minister Imran Khan for the invitation to visit Sri Lanka.
Earlier Prime Minister Imran Khan and his Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa held a one-on-one meeting in Colombo and discussed issues of bilateral and regional importance.
The two leaders affirmed resolve to strengthen relations in diverse areas in a meeting held at Temple Tree – the office of Sri Lanka Prime Minister.
The two sides focused on strengthening ties in areas of trade and investment, health and education, agriculture and science & technology, security, culture and tourism.
Prior to this, Indian Prime Minister Imran Khan arrived in Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka, for a two-day official visit.