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Imran’s planned speech to Lankan parliament canceled – Newspaper

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ISLAMABAD: The speech planned by Prime Minister Imran Khans to the Sri Lankan parliament on his next visit to the island country has been canceled.

Mr. Khan is due to travel to Colombo for a two-day trip starting February 22.

In addition to his meetings with Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and his participation in an investors’ conference, he was due to address the Sri Lankan parliament on February 24.

The speech in parliament is said to have been included in Mr Khans’ itinerary at the request of the Pakistani governments. However, it was later canceled, according to Sri Lankan media. Sri Lankan media reports give various reasons for the cancellation of Mr. Khan’s speech.

PM is to visit Colombo on a two-day trip from 22

The Sri Lankan daily Express quoted Foreign Minister Jayanath Colombage as saying that President Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena had requested the cancellation on the pretext of Covid-19.

However, the same newspaper quoted anonymous sources as saying that there were elements in the Sri Lankan government, who did not want the speech to take place because they feared it would further damage ties with India, which have already been strained after the cancellation. an agreement on the eastern container terminal of the port of Colombo.

Mr Khan was expected to raise the issue of Kashmir during his speech, which could have upset Delhi. Likewise, giving the Pakistani prime minister the opportunity, the Express newspaper said, could have been implied as giving parity between Mr. Khan and Mr. Modi.

But, another ongoing speculation is that the Sri Lankan government was concerned that Mr. Khan was talking about the rights of Muslims in Sri Lanka, who have been abused by the Buddhist majority, with anti sentiments. – growing Muslims and biased government actions.

In addition, the Sri Lankan government had made its mandatory cremation rule for those who died of Covid-19 applicable to Muslims in the country. The government, however, earlier this month exempted Muslims from cremation and allowed them to bury their dead after a global outcry over the issue.

Mr. Khan welcomed the decision of the Sri Lankan government. We welcome the assurance of Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksas given to the Sri Lankan parliament today, allowing Muslims to bury those who have died from Covid-19, he tweeted.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri could not be reached for comment.

Posted in Dawn, February 18, 2021

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