Pakistan and Sri Lanka to Strengthen Relations Buddhist Monks Visit Religious Sites

Sri Lanka, an Important Ally

Pakistan\’s President, Dr Arif Alvi, has stated that the country values its brotherly relationship with Sri Lanka, stating that the two countries have excellent ties founded on mutual respect and confidence.

On Wednesday, he made these remarks during a visit to the presidential palace in Islamabad by a group of Sri Lankan Buddhist monks. “Pakistan considers Sri Lanka to be an important partner and ally,” said Arif Alvi. President also expressed his desire to strengthen bilateral cooperation.

Push for Tourism

Imran Khan, Pakistan\’s prime minister, is pushing for a vision to grow Buddhist religious tourism. As a result, a high-level delegation of Sri Lankan Senior Buddhist Monks will visit Pakistan from April 19 to April 26, 2021.

According to the President, Pakistan is home to the Gandhara Buddhist heritage and is proud to be the custodian of some of Buddha\’s most holy artefacts. These locations have a lot of scope for religious tourism from Sri Lanka to Pakistan. He requested that the delegation invite Sri Lankan monks and citizens to visit Buddhist holy sites in Pakistan.

Positive Image of Pakistan

The President expressed his hope that the delegation will promote a positive picture of Pakistan among their followers. He hoped they would educat them about the country\’s Buddhist heritage and encouraging them to visit Pakistan on religious pilgrimages.

The delegation expressed its gratitude to the Pakistani government for making excellent arrangements for its visit to Buddhist sites. It also praised Pakistan\’s efforts to renovate and save Buddhist heritage sites.

Religious Harmony

Following Prime Minister Khan\’s recent visit to Sri Lanka, the Pakistan High Commission in Colombo organized a visit for high-ranking Buddhist monks to Pakistan to promote religious tourism and enhance the Pakistan-Sri Lanka relationship.

Pir Noorul Haq Qadri, Minister of Religious Affairs, met with the delegation and stated that mutual respect and brotherhood between religious groups are essential. He also said that similar to the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor for India\’s Sikh community, Buddhist shrines would be opened for Sri Lankan brothers and sisters.

Visiting Historical Sites

The 12-member Buddhist monk delegation conducted holy rites at various Gandhara Buddhist civilization archaeological sites in Pakistan\’s KPK province. The monks lauded the government\’s restoration of archaeological sites in Taxila and Khanpur. This also included  Takht Bhai in Mardan and Buddhist holy sites in Bhimala in Khan Pur District Haripur.

The delegation was joined by SAPM on Tourism Zulfi Bukhari, Secretary Tourism KPK, and scholars. The monks were updated on the status of construction on Buddhist sites in Taxila and Khan Pur. As a motive of the provincial government in order to promote religious tourism.

During a press conference, Bukhari said that the Pakistani government has a target of completing the world\’s largest Ghandhara trail in Pakistan by 2022. The ancient kingdom of Gandhara played a pivotal role in the propagation of Buddhism in the area. Ghandhara was the old name for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and the city is a sacred location for Buddhists.

Takht Bhai was once part of the Buddhist Gandhara empire. The empire spanned what is now Pakistan and Afghanistan 1000 years ago. Because they were part of the Gandhara Civilisation, it is a popular tourist destination for Sri Lankans, Koreans, and Japanese.


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