COLOMBO – Tuesday (28) marked the culmination of a challenging yet rewarding assignment as Pakistan’s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka. Challenging, not due to the pandemic and diplomatic responsibilities, but in correspondingly reciprocating to the respect and love extended to me and my team by the common Sri Lankans during the period.
The difficulties posed by the pandemic, though to some extent retarded, yet could not stop us from proactively engaging with our Sri Lankan brethren in every nook and corner of the country, much to the discomfort of our common neighbour.
From Jaffna to Hambantota and Batticaloa/Tricomalee to Colombo, the love and respect displayed towards my country was clearly visible in the shine I witnessed in every Sri Lankan eye during my visits. No wonder, many eyes of the ordinary Sri Lankans provide vision to numerous Pakistani men and women through their generous Cornea donations for which we shall always remain grateful.
The extraordinary reception accorded to our Prime Minister Imran Khan and his successful visit in February 2021, spoke volumes for the depth and cordiality of relations going deep into our mutual respect at people to people levels. Bureaucratic foot-dragging (due to a variety of reasons and interests) however, remains a retarding factor in fully realizing the common vision of our leadership.
I sincerely thank the Sri Lankan leadership, military hierarchy and common Sri Lankans for their wholehearted acknowledgement of our support in the critical war of Sri Lanka’s national survival. The positive endeavours to tangibly appreciate and reciprocate, however, are visibly marred by the extraordinary caution displayed due to the regional geopolitical complexities and sensitivities. Notwithstanding the above, Pakistan remains steadfast in its tangible support for Sri Lanka as recently evidenced during last UNHRC meeting at Geneva.
The respect, love and understanding demonstrated by the Most Venerable Monks during my frequent interactions with them across the island, further strengthened my understanding of their positive and effective role towards religious harmony among the followers of all beliefs. The visit of Most Venerable Monks to Pakistan in April 2021 greatly cemented their stance about the importance our government and people accord to the preservation of Buddhist heritage in Pakistan.
A state of the art documentary on ‘Gandhara-Buddhist Heritage of Pakistan’ recently prepared by the High Commission is ready to be aired soon. It will surely add to strengthening our bonds, further facilitating people to people contacts.
I would also extend my deepest gratitude to the members of the Diplomatic Corps for their magnanimous cooperation and goodwill towards my country.
In the end, on behalf of myself and my team, I would like to extend my gratitude and thanks to the government and people of this great country for their support and goodwill during my stint as Pakistan’s High Commissioner.
I wish and hope that my successor is even more fortunate to receive tangible support and cooperation from the right quarters. Allah willing, together, we shall march towards prosperity while taking our relationship of mutual respect to new heights.
“Long Live Pakistan Sri Lanka Friendship”