Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan arrived here on his first visit to Sri Lanka on Tuesday. He will hold talks with the top leadership of Sri Lanka on various issues such as trade, defense and technology. Khan is the first head of state to visit Sri Lanka after the Covid-19 epidemic. Khan will meet here with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa. The special thing is that Mahinda Rajapaksa broke the protocol and reached the airport to receive the Prime Minister of Pakistan.
He will also lead delegation-level talks on trade, investment, health, education, agriculture, science and technology, besides cooperation between the two countries on defense and cultural tourism. Khan will also participate in a joint trade and investment conference organized to increase trade and investment between the two countries. During the visit, several agreements will also be signed to enhance bilateral cooperation.
This is Khan’s first visit to Sri Lanka since taking over as Pakistan’s Prime Minister in 2018. Earlier, he came to Sri Lanka in 1986, when he was the captain of the Pakistani cricket team. During that time, in the series of Test matches, he accused the local umpires of bias. This is the first Sri Lankan visit by a Pakistani Prime Minister after Nawaz Sharif’s visit to Sri Lanka in 2016.
Prior to Khan’s visit, the Sri Lankan government canceled the program for his proposed address to the joint session of parliament last week. The government cited the Kovid-19 epidemic as the reason for doing so. It is said that Khan’s program included addressing Parliament at the request of the Pakistani government. The address was to be held on 24 February.
The Dawn newspaper quoted Sri Lankan media reports as saying that there were some elements in the Sri Lankan government who did not want it to be addressed as they feared it would further damage the country’s (Sri Lanka) relations with India. Are already tense with the cancellation of the East Container Terminal Agreement at Colombo Port.