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Sri Lanka High Commission in Islamabad celebrates the 69th Independence Day of Sri Lanka

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The High Commission of Sri Lanka in Islamabad celebrated the 69th Independence Day of Sri Lanka at the High Commission premises on 04th February 2017, with traditional fervor and enthusiasm. Religious leaders, Sri Lankans living in Pakistan, students and High Commission officials participated at this event.

The celebration was begun with hoisting of national flag by the High Commissioner H.E. Major General (R) Jayanath Lokuketagodage on the tune of national anthem. Following the lightning of oil lamp by the dignitaries, two minutes silence was observed for the National War Heroes as a mark of respect for their sacrifices for the peace, independence and sovereignty of the motherland.

This was followed by the religious observance performed by religious leaders representing the Buddhist, Hindu, Christianity and Islam religions blessing Sri Lanka and all the Sri Lankans. The Independance Day messages of the President, the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka were read out on the occasion. Speaking at the gathering, High Commissioner said that Sri Lanka and Pakistan had been enjoying a very cordial and warm relationship from the beginning. Further he mentioned that the unity government is working very hard to ensure good governance, transparency, accountability and the promotion of pluralism. At the end of the ceremony the visitors were served with Sri Lankan tea and the traditional kavum, kiribath and other Lankan sweetmeats.

In the evening of 06th February a formal reception was held with a special cultural show presented by a group of 14 members from the Sri Lanka Navy dance troupe. A gathering of 500 people comprising more than 200 diplomats of friendly countries, Ministers and dignitaries of Pakistan and the Sri Lankans living in Pakistan attended a truly Sri Lankan event.

High Commissioner, in his speech pointed out that political, trade and economic relations between Pakistan and Sri Lanka are solid and longstanding. Pakistan is the second largest trading partner of Sri Lanka in the SAARC region. Sri Lanka was the first country to sign a Free Trade Agreement with Pakistan. A substantial growth is seen in bilateral trade, particularly after implementation of the Pakistan–Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (PSFTA) in 2005. The value of total trade between the two countries has increased from US $ 158 Million in 2005 to over US $ 337 Million (up to November) in 2016. The balance of trade (BOT) has always been in favor of Pakistan and the trade gap has increased at a considerable rate over the years. Pakistan and Sri Lanka are determined to boost the bilateral trade to reach at US$ 1 billion mark. Therefore, authorities of both the countries are regularly monitoring, reviewing and addressing issues that are being encountered by the business community in order to further strengthen the existing trade and economic relations between Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

At the end of the event, the participants were presented with Sri Lankan Tea bags from “Senok” tea Sri Lanka.

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