Regional affairs: Pakistan, Sri Lanka face similar challenges: Nisar
Tells former Sri Lankan president closer ties instrumental in diversifying cooperation in all areas of interest

“This partnership is a bulwark” against the challenges facing the region – including the issues of terrorism and poverty – serving to ward off any self-assumed notion of hegemony in the region, said the minister while talking to a delegation led by former Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa at Punjab House here on Thursday.

The Sri Lankan delegation included former foreign minister Gamini Lakshman Peris, former minister Dullas Dhaham Kumara Alahapperuma, former minister Wimmal Weerawansha, Lokubandara Udith Sanjaya and Yoshitha Kanishka Rajapaksa.

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Welcoming the visiting delegation, Nisar remarked that the former president is known to Pakistani people as one of Pakistan’s true friends who, during his tenure, added great strength to the Pak-Sri Lankan ties and was instrumental in diversifying this equation in all possible areas of mutual cooperation.

The minister – while expressing satisfaction over the steady and upward trajectory of Pak-Sri Lankan economic, political, socio-cultural and defence cooperation – observed that the relations between the two countries spanned over six decades, characterised by the spirit of sincerity, friendship, mutual respect, understanding and cooperation for the benefit of the two peoples.

He said that Pakistan and Sri Lanka faced challenges of similar nature and “our strategic friendship is critical not only to ward off hegemonic intentions in the region but also to fight our mutual challenges and issues”.

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“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,” stated Nisar.

He added that the tenure of former president Rajapaksa 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 and fighting illicit drug trade and human trafficking.

The two leaders also discussed 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 Pakistan for the warm welcome that was extended to him and his delegation during his visit and expressed the hope that the two countries would continue to tread the path leading to greater cooperation and greater understanding between the two countries in the years to follow.

June 13, 2017

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