Pakistan High Commission, Colombo organised a Seminar on the Gandhara Heritage of Pakistan on 13 September.
The event, held at the prestigious Nāgānanda International Institute for Buddhist Studies (NIIBS), was inter alia attended by former President Mathripala Sirisena, former Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, Imtiaz Bakeer Markar MP, Diplomatic Corps, prominent Monks, members of All Ceylon Buddhist Council, and a large number of students.
Minister of Buddhasasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs Vidura Wickremanayake was the Chief Guest.
High Commissioner of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to Sri Lanka Maj. Gen. Umar Farooq Burki (HI) (M) in his welcome address gave an overview of the excellent friendly ties between Pakistan and Sri Lanka. While stressing the need for frequent people-to-people contacts between the two countries, the High Commissioner highlighted the immense potential Pakistan possesses in religious and cultural tourism. In this regard, he stressed the need for institutional linkages between the two countries.
The Chief Guest, in his remarks, appreciated the efforts of the High Commission for apprising the Sri Lankan public of the huge cultural and religious tourism potential of Pakistan, especially its rich Gandhara Heritage. The Minister proposed that the two countries should create a Heritage Forum for a bilateral exchange of views and experience.
Presentations and speeches were made by prominent Sri Lankan scholars as well as two eminent Speakers from Pakistan viz. Dr Abdul Sammad, Director General, Archaeology Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province of Pakistan and Iqbal Khan, Director, Taxila Museum.
Some of the other highlights of the seminar included the display of books and pamphlets related to Pakistan’s Gandhara Heritage and the launch of a documentary on the Gandhara Heritage of Pakistan.
In the spirit of close brotherly relations and to further build upon the cultural linkages, an MoU between Pakistan and Sri Lanka on the promotion of religious tourism and collaboration in the preservation and projection of Gandhara Heritage is also at an advanced stage.