Pakistan-Sri Lanka trade volume to be increased upto $ 2 billion in next three years: Farooq Naek

ISLAMABAD: Chairman Senate Farooq H. Naek has stressed the need to further broaden cooperation between Pakistan and Sri Lanka in political, economic and cultural fields with an aim to cement friendship between the two countries on high pedestal.

”Pakistan greatly values its ties with Sri Lanka as these are based on mutual trust and shared interest”, he said while talking to the visiting Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa here. Chairman Senate recalled his visit to Sri Lanka, representing Pakistan on the swearing in ceremony of Sri Lankan President. He conveyed his appreciation to the Sri Lankan President for sending two teams of doctors to combat the Dengue fever in Punjab.

He reiterated Pakistan’s stance saying, “we fully support the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Sri Lanka. We are happy to note that Sri Lankan government has made progress in bringing peace and rehabilitation in the country,” he added.

He said there was dire need for more parliamentary exchanges to create better understanding and learning from each other’s experience. Recalling the Sri Lankan Speaker’s visit to Pakistan last year, he said the visit was a good gesture and that tradition must continue.

Naek said Pakistan’s Parliament would be fully represented in the CPA Conference that would be hosted by Sri Lanka in September this year. The conference, he said, would provide an excellent opportunity to parliamentarians of the two sides to have close interactions and discourse.

He also underlined the need for learning from Sri Lankan experience in education and health services as Sri Lanka has 98 percent literacy rate and free of cost health services.

The Sri Lankan President said that education was totally free in Sri Lanka and the students were being given free text books, uniforms, while stipend was also provided to them. As far as health services are concerned, the government hospitals provide free services to both rich and poor and even to foreigners.

Talking about trade potential and economic ties between the two countries, Chairman Senate stressed the need to increase trade volume up to two billion dollars over the next three years. “Currency swap agreement and direct shipping services can lead to enhance trade and more connectivity”, Naek said.

He said that both the countries should enhance their cooperation in security related matters and counter terrorism and must make concerted efforts to eliminate the menace.

Deliberating about enhancing cultural ties and people to people contacts Chairman Senate told Sri Lankan President that Pakistan was home to a large number of sacred relics of Buddha and Sri Lankans must visit Pakistan as tourists.

Sri Lankan President said that his country attached immense importance to its relations with Pakistan and expressed the desire to strengthen bilateral relations by enhancing cooperation in all fields, particularly bilateral trade, commercial ties and security cooperation.

He thanked Pakistan Government for the support and cooperation extended to Sri Lanka in curbing the menace of terrorism.

Those present during the meeting were Deputy Chairman Senate Jan Muhammad Khan Jamali, Leader of the House Syed Nayyer Hussain Bukhari, Leader of Opposition Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, Senator Haji M. Adeel, Raja Zafarul Haq and Secretary Senate Iftikharullah Babar.

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