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Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan arrives in Sri Lanka on Tuesday




Bilateral talks are expected to focus on various sectors, including trade, investment, health, education, agriculture, technology, defense and tourism.


POSTED FEBRUARY 23, 2021 1:33 p.m. IST

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan will hold in-depth talks with Sri Lankan leaders on various issues such as trade, defense and technology during his one-day visit to the island nation.

Khan, who is due to arrive in Sri Lanka on Tuesday evening, will hold deliberations with his Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa. He will meet with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Wednesday, the foreign ministry confirmed.

Bilateral talks are expected to focus on various sectors, including trade, investment, health, education, agriculture, technology, defense and tourism.

This is the first visit by a Pakistani Prime Minister to Sri Lanka since Nawaz Sharif visited the country in 2016.

Khan’s last visit to Sri Lanka dates back to 1986, when he was captain of the Pakistan cricket team in the acrimonious series of tests where he accused local referees of bias.

The Khans’ visit coincides with the current controversy over the forced cremations of members of the island’s Muslim minority community who are dying from COVID-19. The government continues its policy of forced cremations despite objections from rights groups.

Khan praised Sri Lanka earlier this month when Prime Minister Mahinda made a comment in parliament that burials would be allowed for Muslim victims of Covid-19. However, the decision has not yet been implemented.

In an open letter to Khan, international human rights organization Amnesty International urged him to raise the issue of forced cremations with Sri Lankan leaders during his visit.

We urge you to raise this issue of forced cremations at the highest possible level during your visit to Sri Lanka, in solidarity with a minority community that has been deprived of any remedy. We urge you to call on the government of Sri Lanka to stop forced cremations and end the discrimination faced by the Muslim community in Sri Lanka, the letter reads.

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