ECONOMYNEXT – Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan who is on an official two-day visit to Sri Lanka was welcomed by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) a short while ago, the PM’s office said.
Khan is the first head of government to visit Sri Lanka since President Gotabaya Rajapaksa assumed office in November 2019.
A high-level delegation led by Khan will engage in talks over bilateral trade, investment, health, education, agriculture, science and technology, defence, security, culture and tourism, a statement from Sri Lanka’s Foreign Ministry previously said.
Khan is also expected to discuss regional and international issues with his counterpart and with President Rajapaksa during his visit, among which will likely be the ongoing United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) sessions.
An address to Sri Lanka’s parliament by the visiting Prime Minister that was announced earlier was cancelled, leading to some controversy. A parliamentary source told EconomyNext last week that the speech had to be cancelled due to the visiting PM’s packed schedule, though other sources have cited the prevailing pandemic situation as the reason.
Earlier this month, Khan publicly welcomed an announcement by Prime Minister Rajapaksa that Sri Lanka will allow the burial of COVID-19 victims. Members of Rajapaksa’s own government later back-tracked on the statement. It is unclear whether Khan will raise the matter during his visit. (Colombo/Feb23/2021)