Sri Lanka seeks Pakistan’s help in anti-drug drive

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, left, arrives with his Sri Lankan counterpart Dinesh Gunawardena during his two-day official visit in Colombo on Dec. 2, 2019. (REUTERS)
Updated 02 December 2019

Sri Lanka seeks Pakistan’s help in anti-drug drive

  • President Rajapaksa says efforts should be made for growth in trade and investments
  • FM Qureshi is on a two-day visit to the island nation

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka has sought Pakistan’s assistance in its fight against drug trafficking and addiction, as discussed in a meeting between President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi in Colombo on Monday.
“Drug trafficking and addiction is a grave evil that my country is confronted with. We wish to seek Pakistan’s assistance to eradicate this menace,” Rajapaksa told Qureshi.
Qureshi, who is on a two-day visit to the island nation – following his maiden trip to New Delhi – extended an invitation on behalf of President Arif Alvi for Rajapaksa to visit Pakistan.
Data provided by Sri Lanka’s Dangerous Drugs Control Board (DDCB) shows that more than 250,000 of the country’s youth are addicted to drugs.
DDCB chairman Prof. Ravindra Fernando said nearly 50,000 youngsters are addicted to heroin alone, while nearly 2,500 undergo rehabilitation every year.
On Monday, Sri Lanka destroyed $108 million worth of cocaine, seized by authorities in the port of Colombo which is increasingly becoming a transit hub favored by drug smugglers in Asia.
Rajapaksa also requested Pakistan to help Sri Lanka fight Islamic extremism, adding that instead of financial assistance, efforts should be made to ensure continuous and enhanced growth in trade and investments on a mutually beneficial basis.
The president expressed an interest in exporting the widely-grown betel leaf which is popularly known as ‘paan’ in Pakistan and India.
Qureshi, for his part, said Pakistan was keen on strengthening its bilateral relations with Sri Lanka, especially in the areas of economic development, trade, security cooperation and regional cooperation.
“We already have very close, friendly and warm relations with Sri Lanka. Pakistan hopes to further develop them, widening the scope of cooperation,” Qureshi said, adding that he is fortunate to be the “first foreign minister to have visited Colombo since the election of the new government.”
He added that the government was looking forward to work with Sri Lanka to conserve and develop Buddhist heritage sites found across Pakistan.
“We are eagerly waiting for your visit to Pakistan at your earliest,” he told Rajapaksa.
In the meeting, Qureshi was accompanied by Dr. Mohammad Faisal, Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Tanvir Ahmad, Acting High Commissioner in Colombo.
Earlier, he had briefed his Sri Lankan counterpart, Dinesh Gunawardena, on the human rights’ crisis in Indian-administered Kashmir, adding that the lockdown since Aug. 5 remains a “cause of serious concern” for the international community.
During the meeting, the two ministers also discussed trade, investment, tourism, and people-to-people contact.
Speaking to the media after the meeting, Qureshi termed his meeting with the Sri Lankan foreign minister as “excellent” and extended an invitation to Gunawardena to visit Islamabad.
“There is a lot we can do to promote our mutual interest,” he said on ways to strengthen bilateral ties.
Following Rajapaksa’s victory, Pakistan Premier Imran Khan had telephoned the newly elected president and invited him to visit Islamabad at his earliest convenience.
Speaking to Arab News, N.M.Shaheid, Lanka’s High Commissioner based in Islamabad said: “Pakistan has always honored Sri Lankan leadership devoid of color and party. President Maithripala Sirisena was invited as the chief guest in 2018 for Pakistan’s National Day celebrations. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is no stranger to Pakistan. He has received military training in Pakistan and many in top positions in the army are well acquainted with him. Pakistan-Sri Lanka relationship will get to greater heights under Rajapaksa regime.”


Modi's 'supremacist agenda' could lead to massive bloodshed — PM Khan

Updated 2 min 33 sec ago

Modi's 'supremacist agenda' could lead to massive bloodshed — PM Khan

  • Lists down a string of anti-Muslim policies pursued by New Delhi in his Twitter post
  • Warns the world that appeasing the Modi administration would only lead to dire consequencespakis

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday reiterated that his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi was pursuing a “Hindu supremacist agenda,” warning the international community against appeasing the administration in New Delhi since it would lead to dire consequences.
The world “must realize, as appeasement of the genocidal Supremacist agenda of Nazi Germany eventually led to [World War II], Modi’s Hindu Supremacist agenda, accompanied by threats to [Pakistan] under a nuclear overhang, will lead to massive bloodshed & far-reaching consequences,” he said in a Twitter post.
The prime minister also presented a list of anti-Muslim policies pursued by the current Indian administration, starting with the “illegal annexation & continuing siege of [Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir]; then stripping 2 [million] Indian Muslim in Assam of citizenship [and] setting up internment camps; [and] now the passage of Citizenship Amendment Law.”
“As in Nazi Germany,” he continued, “in Modi’s India dissent has been marginalized & the world must step in before it is too late, to counter this Hindu Supremacist agenda of Modi’s India threatening bloodshed & war.”
This is not the first time Khan has compared Modi’s India to Nazi Germany. He made the same assertion in an opinion piece published by The New York Times in August this year.
The Pakistani prime minister repeated the same theme during his United Nations General Assembly speech on September 27.
He also questioned the safety of India’s nuclear weapons in August this year, claiming they had fallen into the hands of “the fascist, racist Hindu Supremacist Modi Govt,” after the Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh said New Delhi could revisit its “no first use” policy on nuclear weapons.