Pakistan PM to begin two-day Sri Lanka tour on 23 February

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, along with a high-level delegation, including Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, is set to begin his two-day visit to Sri Lanka, Dawn reported

Feb 20, 2021
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Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, along with a high-level delegation, including Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, is set to begin his two-day visit to Sri Lanka, Dawn reported. 
 
Foreign ministries of both countries confirmed on Friday. Khan will visit Sri Lanka from Feb 23-24 at the invitation of Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa. He will be the first government head to visit Sri Lanka after the COVID crisis.

This is also the first visit of Khan to the country after he became prime minister in 2018. During his visit, he would be meeting Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Issues of trade and investment, health and education, agriculture and science and technology, defense and security, and culture and tourism among other regional and international issues would be discussed in the visit, Pakistan’s Foreign Office said in a statement.

“During the visit, the reconstitution of the Sri Lanka-Pakistan Parliame­n­tary Friendship Associa­tion will be announced to further promote parliamentary exchanges bet­ween the two countries,” the statement said. Khan will also participate in a joint ‘Trade and Investment Conference’.
 
The announcement came just days after media reports claimed the earlier plan of Khan addressing the Sri Lankan parliament was canceled. Although the plan was never announced officially, media reports claimed the Sri Lankan speaker had informed some of the members of parliament that the Pakistan prime minister would address parliament. 

Some MPs had reportedly suggested the possibility of Khan raising the Kashmir issue- a sensitive topic for India- in parliament, which could have further jeopardized an already strained Sri Lanka- India ties, especially after the ECT fiasco.   

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