Sri Lanka, Pakistan aim at $1 billion bilateral trade

Pakistan and Sri Lanka have decided to expand their existing bilateral trade volume to $1 billion annually

Feb 25, 2021
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Pakistan and Sri Lanka have decided to expand their existing bilateral trade volume to $1 billion annually. The foreign ministers of both countries discussed ways to transform their bilateral relations to closer economic relations. 

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who had also accompanied Prime Minister Imran Khan during his two-day Sri Lanka visit, on Wednesday met his Sri Lankan counterpart Dinesh Gunawardena in Colombo. 

During his meeting, he assured Pakistan’s support for Sri Lanka’s efforts at sustainable development,  economic prosperity, and stability. 

Acknowledging the potential of religious tourism for Sri Lankan Buddhists, Pakistan offered to increase its cooperation in the sector. Pakistan has many ancient Buddist heritage sites dating back to the Gandhara civilization. 

On the trade front, Pakistan also asked Sri Lanka to take advantage of China’s Belt and Road initiative and CPEC in Pakistan to access the Central Asian markets. 

Pakistan also announced establishing the Asian Civilization and Cultural Centre at the University of Peradeniya in Kandy district of Sri Lanka and a grant of PKR 52 million {$327,000} for the development of sports infrastructure in Sri Lanka. 

The country also extended a $50 million defense credit line to Sri Lanka. 

During Khan’s visit, around 15 Muslim MPs of Sri Lanka also met Khan in Colombo on Wednesday. The MPs reportedly had also raised the issue of forced cremation of people who died of the Covid-19. 

A report in Morning stated that Khan had in fact raised the issue with both, the prime minister and the president, and he told Sri Lankan Muslims that he received a “positive” response from them.

Sajith Premadasa, the opposition leader in Sri Lanka, also met with Khan and communicated his party’s stand on the issue: he believes the issue should have left to health experts and politics should not dictate the decision. He said Lanka should follow the standards prescribed by the WHO. 

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