Thursday February 29, 2024

PM Imran Khan will pay maiden visit to Sri Lanka on Feb 22

February 10, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan will be leading a high level delegation on his first visit abroad this year, when he leaves for Sri Lanka at the end of this month.

While the visit, during the pandemic, has been doing the rounds in the Sri Lankan and Indian media, it has been all quiet at the Foreign Office. “I can confirm that the visit is taking place and a curtain raiser will be issued closer to the visit”, a senior official told The News when asked for details.

Media reports speak of PM Imran arriving in Colombo on February 22 for a two-day visit, where foreign media reported from Colombo on Tuesday that Sri Lankan law makers confirmed that the prime minister would also address the Sri Lankan Parliament.

Pakistan’s High Commissioner in Sri Lanka, General (R) Saad Khattak, speaking to the media in Colombo about the visit, confirmed it but gave very few details.

PM Imran will be meeting with 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.