Wednesday Feb 10, 2021
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan will be visiting Sri Lanka for two days February end. It will be his his first foreign trip of the year.
PM Khan will be addressing the Sri Lankan Parliament with Sri Lankan Muslim leaders pinning their hopes on the Pakistani premier addressing their human rights concerns during his visit.
News of the visit has been widely reported in Indian and Sri Lankan media, however, the Foreign Office had previously not made any comment.
"I can confirm that the visit is taking place and a curtain raiser will be issued closer to the visit,” a senior official was quoted as saying by The News.
The PM is expected to reach Colombo on February 22.
Pakistan’s High Commissioner in Sri Lanka General (retd) Saad Khattak spoke to the media in Colombo about the visit, but gave few details.
PM Khan will be meeting Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, say officials in Colombo familiar with the visit. President Rajapaska is familiar with Pakistan where he attended courses in military training institutions.
Both countries have for decades enjoyed a broad-based relationship on trade, commerce, culture and defense matters. Pakistan armed forces in 2009 had supported Sri Lanka by providing high tech military equipment and intelligence support in its fight against the LTTE.
At that time, Pakistan stood out when many world capitals had imposed embargoes on Sri Lanka. Khan’s visit comes at a time when Sri Lanka has taken its relations with China several notches higher.