Feb 23, Colombo: Sri Lanka Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa warmly welcomed the Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan, who arrived in Sri Lanka Tuesday on a two-day state visit on an invitation extended by the Sri Lankan Premier.
Extending a warm and cordial welcome to the Pakistani leader and his delegation, PM Rajapaksa said PM Khan’s visit amidst the COVID-19 risks symbolizes the strong friendship between the two South Asian countries.
Prime Minister Khan was given a guard of honor upon his arrival at the airport after being welcomed by PM Mahinda Rajapaksa.
“On my invitation, you have chosen to visit Sri Lanka with great friendship, despite great challenges, including COVID-19 risks. Your visit symbolizes the deep affinity you and your government so dearly cherish towards the people of my country,” PM Rajapaksa said.
Admiring the courage and the great leadership of Prime Minister Khan that is evident in crucial decisions he has taken at times of crises, Rajapaksa said even this visit is a clear demonstration of the leadership quality that he has seen decades ago when PM Khan led the Pakistan’s National Cricket Team against strong opponents.
“I have observed your rise to the high office through the common people’s power and years of activism. That demonstrates your true love for the oppressed and the needy. Your people centric governance agenda goes hand in hand with my own government’s approach towards empowering the grassroots level communities and underprivileged,” the Sri Lankan Premier said.
Prime Minister Rajapaksa noting that the ties between the two countries are closely linked by history, culture, religion, and the deep bilateral cooperation has become an all-weather friendship which has withstood the test of time, said there is potential to expand the relations further.
“Relations between our two nations have now expanded to many sectors. But we have great potential before us to further strengthen our bilateral cooperation.”
Prime Minister Rajapaksa thanked Premier Khan for accompanying a strong business delegation with promising signs of investments and commercial partnerships. “At a time of economic uncertainty, such private sector investments will greatly benefit both our economies,” he said.
The Sri Lankan leader recalling his most recent visit to Pakistan in 2017 and previously as President said both visits were very productive and memorable for him. “I was indeed touched by the hospitality and the warm reception given to me and my delegation by the friendly people of Pakistan,” he added.
Prime Minister Rajapaksa took the opportunity to wish PM Khan and his government all success at the forthcoming Senate election in Pakistan.