Tag Archives: Lanka

Core-Group supporters at UNHRC have a poor human rights record | Instant News


(MENAFN – NewsIn.Asia) By Sugeeswara Senadhira / Daily News

Colombo, March 25: Despite the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Resolution on Sri Lanka adapted at its 46th Session with 22 members voting for it, 11 votes against and 14 abstentions. This means that the majority (25) did not support the resolution.

Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena described the vote as a Global South united against its counterparts in the North. The countries of the South – Asia, Latin America and Africa – refused to vote for the Western-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka. The world’s most populous countries, China and Russia voted against Resolution and two others with large populations – India and Indonesia – abstained. Bolivia, Cuba and Venezuela in Latin America, Somalia and Eritrea in Africa and Asian friends Pakistan, the Philippines, Bangladesh and Uzbekistan, in addition to China and Russia voted against the Resolution.

Let’s examine the countries that support the resolution apart from its Western sponsors. Those who gave in to Western pressure and voted against Sri Lanka include Fiji, the Marshall Islands, Ivory Coast (Ivory Coast), Malawi, Uruguay and Brazil, countries with the worst records of human rights abuses and military coups.

The UNHRC is chaired by the Fiji Ambassador to the United Nations, Nazhat Shameem Khan wearing a Sari which indicates Indo-Fijian origin (his father is Pakistani and his mother is Indo-Fijian). When Fiji was elected to the Council, he promised to give ‘… the South Pacific region a voice in the world’s premier human rights body’. Those who know the South Pacific well point out that ‘Fiji must start by allowing its own citizens to speak and express themselves at home, without fear of reprisals.’ (https://devpolicy.org/fijis-review-at-the-human-rights-council-highlight…)

After all, anyone who has studied politics in the area knows the role of the military in Fiji. The leaders of the two major political parties are not only former military officers but also former coup leaders. Fiji’s racially divided politics is characterized by a split between indigenous Fijians (54.3%) and Indo-Fijians (38.1%), descendants of Indian contract workers brought to the islands by British colonial powers in the 19th century. .

Fundamental Rights

Prime Minister Rear Admiral Frank Bainimarama was the leader of the 2006 coup (he also led the 2000 coup). He has held power, although through several elections in which some of the Fundamental Rights including freedom of speech, association and assembly were not ‘widespread’. His Fiji First Party managed to win the backing of a large proportion of Indo-Fijian votes. The 2018 elections were won by Fiji’s First Party with more than 50% of the vote and 27 seats. The main opposition party, the Liberal Social Democratic Party (SODELPA), led by Colonel Sitiveni Rabuka, (sometimes referred to in the press as ‘Colonel Steve Rambo.’). He is best known for instigating the two military coups that rocked Fiji in 1987. He won about 40 percent of the vote.

Although Rear Admiral Frank Bainimarama ‘restored’ democracy and held elections, he retained a number of decrees from pre-democratic times to maintain power. These include the Media Decree, which limits press freedom and encourages self-censorship (Bainimarama remains notoriously sensitive to criticism) and the Public Order Decree, which limits a group’s ability to hold public meetings.

Its 2013 constitution also states ‘It will be the overall responsibility of the Military Forces of the Republic of Fiji to ensure at all times the security, defense and well-being of Fiji and all Fijians’ – words that are flexible enough with which to rationalize further. military interference in the political affairs of the country. Rear Admiral Frank Bainimarama’s authoritarian instincts remain a concern of many Fijians who believe that the future of ‘democracy’ in Fiji is in jeopardy.

However, all of that is lawful for the West. The West supports the Fiji First Party. The coup and its decisions were democratic, according to the lopsided Western logic.

Another country that has accused Sri Lanka of human rights abuses is the Marshall Islands, a country that was handed over to the US after World War II. The US uses it for nuclear testing. From 1946 to 1958, the United States detonated 67 atomic bombs on the islands – the equivalent of 1.6 Hiroshimas a day for 12 years. The effects are still being felt today, and the Marshall Islands are one of the countries least visited by tourists.

This vast chain of volcanic islands and coral atolls in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, has a population of 58,791 people. The Bikini Atoll, where the US military conducted nuclear tests from 1946 to 1958, is one of the atolls in the chain.

Key issue

The Republic of the Marshall Islands, despite claiming to be a sovereign State, has a Treaty with the US which has agreed to pay at least US $ 57 million annually for its maintenance. Under the Treaty, the United States has full authority and responsibility for the security and defense of the Marshall Islands, and the Marshall Islands Government has an obligation to refrain from taking action incompatible with these security and defense responsibilities.

At the United Nations, the Marshall Islands have always followed the United States and in all major matters match their votes with the United States 100%. For example, in December 2017, the Marshall Islands were one of only nine countries (including the United States and Israel) to vote against a motion adopted by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) condemning the United States’ recognition of Jerusalem as the capital. from Israel. The Marshall Islands still recognize Taiwan and maintain diplomatic relations with it. And of course they also have good human rights records, including the right to sell their babies to the US.

Human trafficking

Apart from the Bikini Atoll, the only media coverage the islands have received has been the recent British media coverage of the stunning and shameless human trafficking ring, which operated for years across the archipelago of the Marshall Islands and the United States. The fray involves pregnant women from the Pacific being lured into the United States with an offer of US $ 10,000 and the promise of a new life in America to give up their baby. If they sell the baby for US $ 10,000, what is the price for the UNHRC vote, one might ask?

Malawi is another notorious human rights violator. One of the poorest countries, in Malawi, democracy is often manipulated by the military. Malawi’s sixth election was held in May 2019. The results of the Presidential Popular Consultation were canceled in February 2020 by the Constitutional Court. The new Presidential Election was held on 23 June 2020 in which Lazarus Chakwera from the Malawi Congress Party and Saulos Chilima from the UTM Party were elected as President and Vice President respectively after gaining 58.6% of the vote. Peter Mutharika of the Democratic Progressive Party and the United Democratic Front coalition, which received 39.4% of the vote, accused the military of electoral malpractice.

Ivory Coast (Ivory Coast) is another country that supports the resolution. On many occasions, the Ivorian government has been accused of impunity and political violence, especially by the army and the politicized judiciary. Ivory Coast holds local elections in October, marked by violence that led to death. Although Ivorian judges continued to investigate post-election crisis crimes 2010-11, President Alassane Ouattara declared Amnesty for crimes related to the 2010-11 crisis, which had raised concerns that victims would not get justice in Ivory Coast courts.

The ICC is currently prosecuting Laurent Gbagbo, former President, and Charles Ble Goude, former Minister of Youth and leader of a pro-Gbagbo militia, for crimes against humanity allegedly committed during the post-election crisis 2010-11. The ICC is also investigating crimes committed by pro-Ouattara forces.

Ironically, these countries with a long record of human rights abuses were among the UNHRC members who supported a resolution against Sri Lanka that clearly gave their former colonial masters a cot.

END

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LEN – www.lankaenews.com | Bestial Gota regime was defeated twice in Geneva ..! A lawsuit against anyone in any country ..! | Instant News


Bestial Gota regime was defeated twice in Geneva ..! A lawsuit against anyone in any country ..!

Lanka e Special Agent News from Geneva

(Lanka-e-News- 24.March.2021, 6.00PM) Resolution 40/1 on Human Rights, Reconciliation and Accountability in Sri Lanka ‘submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Council on Sri Lanka, which allows anyone to be prosecuted in any country for war crimes or serious human rights violations in Sri Lanka. It was passed by double vote yesterday (23).

22 member states voted in favor of the resolution, 11 opposed the resolution and 14 abstained from the vote.

Regional countries such as India, Nepal and Japan abstained from voting. Regional countries such as Pakistan and Bangladesh opposed the resolution. Other countries that voted against were China, Russia, Cuba, Eritrea, Bolivia, the Philippines, Somalia, Uzbekistan and Venezuela. Rajapaksa’s ally, Ukraine, also supported the resolution against the Gota regime. The 22 countries that voted in favor were England, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Denmark, Austria, Armenia, Argentina, Czechoslovakia, Brazil, Bulgaria, South Korea, Ukraine, Uruguay, Mexico, Marshall Islands, Malawi, Fiji, the coast. Ivory and Bahamas. In the resolution that defeated Sri Lanka a year ago, Sri Lanka had 12 votes in favor, but this time it was reduced to one.

Sri Lanka’s terrible Gota government is working hard to beat this resolution and hopes to defeat it, especially with the help of Muslim countries.

The most important element of this proposal ..

The most important elements of this resolution are the following responsibilities of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

“Recognizing the importance of maintaining and analyzing evidence relating to human rights violations and violations and related crimes in Sri Lanka with the aim of enhancing accountability, and decided to strengthen in this case the capacity of the Office of the High Commissioner to collect, consolidate, analyze and store information and evidence. and to develop possible strategies for future accountability processes for gross human rights violations or serious violations of international humanitarian law in Sri Lanka, to advocate for victims and survivors, and to support relevant justice and other processes, including in Member States, with competent jurisdiction “

Accordingly, a special unit will be established in the High Commissioner’s office, including lawyers. It will receive a budget of $ 2.8 million over the next 22 months. This unit will provide the information necessary to prosecute anyone in any country for war crimes or serious human rights violations in Sri Lanka.

The resolution also recommended that the Commissioner for Human Rights submit three reports in the next 22 months to carry out regular investigations into the human rights situation in Sri Lanka.

This is an unprecedented development. This shows the recognition of the world community that the human rights situation in Sri Lanka is deteriorating.

Requesting the Office of the High Commissioner to improve its monitoring and reporting on the human rights situation in Sri Lanka, including progress on reconciliation and accountability, and to submit oral updates to the Human Rights Council at its 48th session, and written updates at its 49th session and a comprehensive report covering further options for advancing accountability at its 51st session, both of which will be discussed in the context of an interactive dialogue.

The responsibility of the government ..

Responsibilities assigned to the Gotabaya regime Meanwhile, the Sri Lankan government has a number of responsibilities which will be investigated through the report. They:

9. Call on the Government of Sri Lanka to ensure prompt, thorough and impartial investigations and, where appropriate, the prosecution of all alleged crimes relating to human rights violations and serious violations of international humanitarian law, including for long-standing symbolic cases.

10. It also calls on the Sri Lankan Government to ensure the effective and independent functioning of the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission, Office of the Missing Persons and Office of Reparations to carry out their respective mandates as set out.

11. A further call on the Sri Lankan Government to protect civil society actors, including human rights defenders, to investigate any attacks and to ensure a safe and conducive environment in which civil society can operate free from obstacles, surveillance, insecurity and threats of reprisals.

12. Call on the Government of Sri Lanka to review the Prevention of Terrorism Act, and to ensure that any legislation on combating terrorism fully complies with the country’s human rights obligations and international humanitarian law.

13. Urge the Sri Lankan Government to foster freedom of religion or belief and pluralism by promoting the ability of all religious communities to realize their religion, and to contribute openly and equally to society.

14. Encourage the Sri Lankan Government to continue to cooperate with the special procedures of the Human Rights Council, including by responding formally to their extraordinary requests.

The Gota regime has completely ignored this …

The Bestial Gota government has stated that it will completely ignore this resolution, and under those circumstances, a tougher resolution will likely be submitted in September.

The resolution did not impose economic sanctions on the Gota regime. Often such actions are carried out by individual countries.

The figure shows how these countries voted.

Full resolution is given below.
https://srilankabrief.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Oral-statement-PDF.pdf

Lanka e news special agent from Geneva

Thanks to Sri Lanka Brief MediaElcodotcom

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by (2021-03-24 12:34:10)

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Relations with Sri Lanka | Instant News


Against the backdrop of India’s persistent efforts to isolate Pakistan in the region and beyond, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s two-day visit to Sri Lanka in the last week of February has been of great significance.

The visit has certainly yielded positive results in light of further strengthening of the historically good friendly relations between the two countries which have agreed to enhance bilateral relations in various fields, including defense, trade and tourism through greater connectivity. PM Imran Khan also offered a $ 50 million line of credit to Sri Lanka for defense purchases.

The visit also aimed to build strategic relations with Sri Lanka, as Prime Minister Imran Khan invited Sri Lankan leaders to join CPEC for regional connectivity. The move is part of a well-crafted and proactive strategy to engage South Asian countries given the deteriorating relationship with India. Sri Lanka is an important member of the Saarc and the South Asian region. Taking relations with Sri Lanka to a higher level will surely hinder India’s efforts to isolate Pakistan in the region.

India has strained relations with the Sri Lankan government, especially with the country’s current leadership, for the support India has provided the Tamil Tigers during the uprising. India along with the US also played a role in the defeat of Rajapaksa in the 2015 elections to inaugurate the pro-India and Pro-US governments there. Rajapaksa served as president of Sri Lanka from 2005 to 2015, where he was able to end the country’s three-decade-long insurgency and build peace.

During the Rajapaksa regime the relationship between Pakistan and Sri Lanka became very strong. Sri Lanka began buying weapons and ammunition on a large scale from Pakistan in 1999 to quell an insurgency in the country. Total purchases through December 2007 were valued at $ 50 million while there was a sudden spike in the number of goods ordered in 2009. Many opinions in Sri Lanka actually support and promote the idea of ​​the Sri Lankan government finalizing a defense cooperation agreement with Islamabad.

In May 2000, Pakistan supplied the Sri Lankan government with millions of dollars in much-needed weapons, when the Tamil Tiger rebels were about to reclaim their former capital, Jaffna.

In April 2009, Sri Lanka requested $ 25 million worth of 81mm, 120mm and 130mm mortar rounds to be delivered within one month. Sri Lanka has also shown interest in purchasing Pakistan’s al-Khalid Main Combat Tank, small arms and ammunition, and products of the Sino-Pak JF-17 Thunder joint venture aircraft. Until recently, relations between the two countries have focused largely on defense cooperation due to Sri Lanka’s war against the Tamil Tigers.

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa visited Pakistan in February 2012 which gave a new dimension to the bilateral relations between the two countries. They agreed to increase bilateral trade from $ 375 million to $ 2 billion within three years, in addition to expanding cooperation in the fields of economy, defense, media and technical education. Pakistan and Sri Lanka agreed to strengthen multisectoral cooperation and as a result, one MOU and three agreements were signed during the visit to formalize cooperation in various fields.

One agreement relates to visa exemptions for officials and diplomats to facilitate increased interaction between the two countries. Under the second agreement on customs, the two countries agreed to cooperate with each other on prevention, investigation, prosecution, substance transfer and illicit narcotics trafficking.

The third agreement for cultural cooperation states commitments in the fields of arts, culture, creative studies, archeology, sports, education, information and media; To achieve this goal, it was agreed to increase the exchange of cultural delegations, as well as the holding of exhibitions to promote and highlight the cultural heritage of the two countries. The memorandum of understanding on agriculture is focused on cooperation for mutual benefit. Pakistan has also offered Sri Lanka a $ 200 million buyer credit loan, providing the option of making payments either by barter or in local currency which is highly valued by the Sri Lankan government.

The two countries also decided to revive the Joint Economic Commission, and tasked it with developing modalities for a new and unconventional phase of economic cooperation marked by barter trade, currency exchange and banking exchange. Sri Lanka was the first country to sign a free trade agreement with Pakistan, which took effect in June 2005 under which 4,000 goods can be imported.

The process of expanding and diversifying bilateral relations between the two countries that took place during the Rajapaksa regime continues to be on a higher trajectory. The relationship is characterized by the realization between the two parties that their cultural heritage provides a solid basis for building multifaceted partnerships for mutual benefit. Their shared values ​​and concerns about regional security justify increasing their economic synergy and strengthening institutional frameworks for cooperation.

Moreover, Sri Lanka, like Pakistan, rejects Indian hegemony in the region. Common views on this issue are another strong pillar of the Pak-Sri Lankan relationship. Furthermore, Sri Lanka has always stood beside Pakistan like a real friend. For example, when all the cricket player countries in the world show reluctance to send their team to Pakistan under the pretext of terrorism, it is the Sri Lankan government showing solidarity with us and sending its team to Lahore. However, it is unfortunate that terrorists can make things worse by attacking them. The Pakistani government and its people value this attitude and hold the people of Sri Lanka in high esteem.

The return of Rajapaksa and his party to power in Sri Lanka is of great benefit to bilateral relations between Pakistan and Sri Lanka as well as in relation to the development of strategic relations for regional connectivity and stability.

The writer is a freelance contributor. Email: [email protected]

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Imran Khan added a new dimension to relations with Sri Lanka | Instant News


(MENAFN – NewsIn.Asia) PKBalachandran / Ceylon Today

Colombo, March 1: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s two-day visit to Sri Lanka, which ends on 24 February, adds a new dimension to Pakistan-Sri Lankan relations. So far reliant on the defense relationship established during Lanka’s borderless war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Sri Lanka-Pakistan relations are now poised to acquire an economic and even political dimension.

Imran Khan’s successful mediation of Lankan Muslims on the issue of COVID-19 burials has inadvertently created Pakistan’s role in solving the Muslim problem in Sri Lanka.

Sooner or later, Pakistan may join US-led India and the West in playing a role in Lanka’s communal politics. This stems from the inability of successive Lankan governments to resolve the country’s ethnic and religious issues through internal dialogue and effective action.

Imran had told a group of Muslim parliamentarians who met him briefly on Wednesday that he had discussed the matter with Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and had received a “positive response” from them.

This is reflected in the Joint Communique. “The two sides underlined the importance of interfaith dialogue and harmony as the key to promoting cultural diversity, peaceful coexistence and mutual empathy,” the communique said.

Media reports said that, Wednesday evening, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa told Buddhist monks that there was pressure from various parties to drop the burial ban. The monks replied that if the technical experts agreed to allow burial, they would have no objection.

The Minister of Health, Pavithra Wanniarachchi, later issued an extraordinary newspaper, which sanctioned burial of the COVID-19 dead (along with cremation) under strict conditions supervised by the State.

Given the urgent need for Pakistan and the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to support the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to face a resolution against Sri Lanka in March, the government needs to accommodate Muslim demands. . The OIC has asked for the lifting of the ban.

But the downside is that Sri Lankan Muslims can start running to Pakistan, and to the OIC, to solve their problems with the Sri Lankan State just as Tamils ​​run to India, the West and the UNHRC to solve their problems with the Lankans. Country.

Economic Dimensions

But certainly, Pakistan-Sri Lanka relations will have a large trade and investment component as the two countries have pledged to increase two-way trade from the current US $ 460 million to US $ 1 billion.

For the first time, Sri Lanka has been invited to join the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to reach out to emerging markets in Central Asia.

Of course, security will remain a key element in relationships as in the past. But it will also be increased by Pakistan’s credit limit of US $ 50 million for Sri Lankan defense projects. The two sides have agreed to cooperate in dealing with a common enemy – terrorism and religious extremism. As of April 21, 2019 Easter Sunday, Muslim suicide bombers in Lanka inspired by the Islamic State (ISIS) have killed 277 innocent people, and Pakistan has so far lost 70,000 lives in terrorist attacks carried out by Islamic fanatics.

On this issue, the Joint Communique said that the two sides “emphasized the need for a stronger partnership to support and coordinate in dealing with matters related to security, terrorism, organized crime and drug and narcotics trafficking and intelligence sharing.”

New Building Block

Imran was able to reiterate, for Pakistan, the goodwill of the Rajapaksas regime. Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa described Pakistan as a ‘close and true friend’. And Imran Khan, on his part, announced a credit limit of US $ 50 million for Sri Lankan defense projects. He provided a grant of US $ 327,916 (PKR 52 million) for a modern sports facility in Sri Lanka which is named the ‘Imran Khan High Performance Sports Center’.

Other prizes are: 100 scholarships for undergraduate medical students; sponsoring the Asian Civilization and Culture Center at Peradeniya University in Kandy, Sri Lanka’s cultural capital and encouragement for Sri Lankans to use the ‘Buddhist Path’ that Pakistan will install to attract Buddhist pilgrims to ancient Buddhist sites in the Gandhara region now called Khyber Pakhtunkwa .

This will allow Pakistan to demonstrate Pakistan’s secular credentials despite being recognized as an Islamic state. It can demonstrate its accomplishments in saving these priceless monuments and idols from religious fanatics and idol thieves and winning praise from Buddhists in Sri Lanka and other East Asian countries.

Selling CPEC and BRI

Significantly, Imran invited Sri Lanka to take advantage of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which runs through China from the Karakoram range in the North to the Arabian Sea in the South. He described CPEC as the ‘flagship project’ of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Sri Lanka has a port, airport and an upcoming Port City of Colombo that China considers part of the BRI, although the Sri Lankan government has not described them as such. But Sri Lanka tends to be interested in BRI even though it hasn’t officially joined. Foreign Secretary Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colombo recently told Xinhua that BRI is providing Sri Lanka with an opportunity to develop its international trade and secure foreign direct investment.

CPEC can also play a role in realizing the joint Lanka-Pakistan goal of bringing bilateral trade from a current low of US $ 460 million to US $ 1 billion.

Significant MoU

During Imran’s visit, an MoU was signed on tourism promotion and cooperation between the Sri Lanka Investment Agency and the Pakistan Investment Agency. Another MoU considers cooperation between the Sri Lanka Institute of Industrial Technology (ITI) and the International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences, Karachi University, Pakistan. Cooperation between the Industrial Technology Institute of Sri Lanka and COMSATS University Islamabad is the subject of another MoU. The University of Colombo and the Lahore School of Economics have agreed to work together.

Another significant outcome was: the decision to forge a relationship between the parliamentarians of the two countries who are lawmakers and opinion makers. Decisions to set up mechanisms for frequent intergovernmental consultations are also taken.

International cooperation

The two sides noted the close cooperation between them in regional and international forums on issues of common interest, and agreed to further strengthen a coordinated approach to these issues.

The Prime Minister of Lanka Mahinda Rajapaksa thanked the government and people of Pakistan for the continued support provided by Pakistan to safeguard Sri Lanka’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. Such support has significance now in the context of Sri Lanka’s possibility of confronting the UNHRC, a hostile resolution to its alleged failure to atone for “war crimes” in its fight against Tamil Tiger terrorism.

Kashmir problem

However, Imran had one disappointment in a trip that was otherwise very fruitful: the Lankan government has backed out of commitments to allow him to speak in parliament. Apparently, Colombo was afraid that he would talk about the Kashmir issue and step up hacks in New Delhi. Imran did not mention Kashmir in official talks but did refer to a trade and investment conference in Colombo.

He said that Kashmir is the only problem between Pakistan and India. After becoming Prime Minister, he had offered India the opportunity to hold peace talks with Pakistan, but to no avail, he said. The only way to solve any problem is through dialogue, he added.

END

COVID 19 killed Defense Imran Khan Mahinda Rajapaksa Pakistani Muslim Sri Lankan trade

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Lanka-Pakistan relations took on a new look after Imran Khan’s visit | Instant News


(MENAFN – NewsIn.Asia) By PKBalachandran

Colombo, February 25: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s two-day visit to Sri Lanka, which ended on Wednesday, has boosted Pakistan-Sri Lankan ties. In addition to traditional defense and security relations, which will be enhanced, they can gain a strong economic base, and Pakistan can become a factor in the politics of Lankan Muslims.

Imran’s intercession in the matter of burying the body of COVID-19, could result in the government lifting the ban, thus closing the curtain of the bitter conflict between the State and Muslims, where burying him is a mandated Islamic practice.

It is clear that from now on, Pakistan-Sri Lanka relations will have a large trade and investment component as the two countries have pledged to increase two-way trade from the current US $ 460 million to US $ 1 billion. For the first time ever, Sri Lanka was invited to join the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to reach out to emerging markets in Central Asia.

The Chinese factor in the matter was evident when Imran called CPEC the ‘flagship of the Belt and Road Initiative’, President Xi Jinping’s pet scheme with global reach.

Of course, security will remain a key element in relationships as in the past. But it will also be increased by Pakistan’s credit limit of US $ 50 million for Sri Lankan defense projects. The two sides have agreed to cooperate in dealing with a common enemy – terrorism and religious extremism. As of April 2019, ISIS-inspired suicide bombers in Lanka killed 277 innocent people, and Pakistan has so far lost 70,000 lives in terrorist attacks carried out by Islamist fanatics.

Joint Communique “emphasizes the need for stronger partnerships to support and coordinate in dealing with matters relating to security, terrorism, organized crime and drug and narcotics trafficking and intelligence sharing.”

Burial Problems

Regarding the burial of Muslims who died from COVID-19, Imran has informed a group of Muslim parliamentarians who met him before his departure that he had discussed the matter with Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and had secured a ‘positive response’.

Significantly, there is an oblique reference to this in the Joint Communique which says: “The two sides underline the importance of interreligious dialogue and harmony as the key to promoting cultural diversity, peaceful coexistence and mutual empathy.”

Media reports said that on Wednesday evening, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa told Buddhist monks that there was pressure from various parties to drop the burial ban and that the monks said that if technical experts agreed to allow burials, they would not object.

Given the urgent need for Pakistan and the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to face a resolution against Sri Lanka in March, it is necessary to accommodate Muslim requests. The OIC has actually asked for the lifting of the ban. Reports indicate that the ban will soon be lifted.

New Building Block

Imran was able to reiterate, for Pakistan, the goodwill of the Rajapaksas regime. Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa described Pakistan as a ‘close and true friend’. And Imran Khan, on his part, announced a credit limit of US $ 50 million for Sri Lankan defense projects. He provided a grant of US $ 327,916 (PKR 52 million) for a modern sports facility in Sri Lanka which is named the ‘Imran Khan High Performance Sports Center’.

Other prizes are: 100 scholarships for undergraduate medical students; sponsored the Asian Civilization and Culture Center at Peradeniya University in Kandy, Sri Lanka’s cultural capital and a push to use the ‘Buddhist Path’ that Pakistan will install to attract Buddhist pilgrims to ancient Buddhist sites in the Gandhara region now called Khyber Pakhtunkwa. This will enable Pakistan to demonstrate its accomplishments in saving these monuments and idols from religious fanatics and idol thieves and win praise from Buddhists in Sri Lanka and other Buddhist countries.

Sell ​​CPEC and BRI

Significantly, Imran invited Sri Lanka to take advantage of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that runs through the country from the Karakoram range in the North to the Arabian Sea in the South. He described CPEC as the ‘flagship project’ of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Sri Lanka has a port, airport and an upcoming Port City of Colombo which China considers part of the BRI, although the Sri Lankan government has not described it as such.

But Sri Lanka tends to be interested in BRI even though it has not officially joined. Secretary of Foreign Affairs Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colombo recently said that BRI provides Sri Lanka with the opportunity to develop its international trade and secure foreign direct investment.

CPEC can also play a role in realizing the Lanka-Pakistan common goal of taking bilateral trade from a current low of US $ 460 million to US $ 1 billion.

During Imran’s visit, an MoU was signed on tourism promotion and cooperation between the Sri Lanka Investment Agency and the Pakistan Investment Agency. Another MoU considers cooperation between the Sri Lanka Institute of Industrial Technology (ITI) and the International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences, Karachi University, Pakistan. The collaboration between the Industrial Technology Institute of Sri Lanka and COMSATS University Islamabad is another material for the MoU. The University of Colombo and the Lahore School of Economics have agreed to work together.

Another significant outcome was: the decision to forge a relationship between the parliamentarians of the two countries who are lawmakers and opinion makers. Decisions to set up intergovernmental consultation mechanisms are also frequently taken.

International cooperation

The two sides noted the close cooperation between them in regional and international forums on issues of common interest, and agreed to further strengthen a coordinated approach to these issues.

The Prime Minister of Lanka Mahinda Rajapaksa thanked the government and the people of Pakistan for the continued support given by Pakistan to safeguard Sri Lanka’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Such support has significance now in the context of Sri Lanka’s possibility of confronting the UNHRC, a hostile resolution to its alleged failure to atone for “war crimes” in its fight against Tamil Tiger terrorism.

Disappointment

However, Imran had one disappointment during his trip – the Lankan government backed out of commitments to allow him to speak in parliament. He was denied the chance to become the third Pakistani official to speak in the Lankan parliament after General Ayub Khan in 1963 and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in 1975.

After learning of the fact that his plans to speak in parliament were thwarted because the Lankan government feared he would raise the Kashmir issue (the hobby horse of Pakistani politicians) and raise the issue of hackles in New Delhi, Imran chose not to embarrass his host. by insisting that the item is on the agenda.

Kashmir Issue Raised

Imran did mention Kashmir at the trade and investment conference in Colombo. Kashmir is the only dispute between India and Pakistan, he said, adding that it could only be resolved through dialogue, GEO Pakistan news reported.

Imran said he offered the Indian government a chance to hold peace talks with Pakistan once elected but nothing came of it. “We want to resolve all disputes in the subcontinent through dialogue.”

Officially, his speech in parliament was canceled ostensibly because the Chairman had written to the government saying that, in light of the COVID 19 pandemic, he may not be able to ensure the full presence of MPs. But only a few take this excuse seriously.

END

CPEC Pakistan BRI Cultural Diplomacy Sri Lanka Trade Religion

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