Sri Lankan delegation successfully concludes visit to Pakistan

Sri Lankan delegation successfully concludes visit to Pakistan


At the invitation of the Government of Pakistan as a State Guest, Minister of Buddhasasana, Religious, and Cultural Affairs of Sri Lanka Vidura Wickramanayaka led a delegation to Pakistan on 27 May, to participate in the international symposium and exhibition titled “From Gandhara to the World: The Legacy of Gandharan Buddhism” held in connection with Vesak Day 2024. 

Minister Wickramanayaka was accompanied by Member of Parliament S.M.M. Muszhaaraff, Ven. Halmillawewe Pemarathana Thero from the International Samanera Bhikkhu Training Institute, Dambulla, Ven. Prof. Thumbulle Seelakkhandha Thero, a member of the Sangha Council in Asgiri Maha Viharaya and former Vice-Chancellor of Pali and Buddhist University and Anuradhapura Bhikku University, Ven. Mugunuwela Anurudha Thero, General Secretary of the All Island Buddhist Council, and Ven. Prof. Tempitiye Indawimala, a lecturer at the Peradeniya University. High Commissioner of Sri Lanka in Islamabad Admiral Ravindra C. Wijegunaratne, also participated in the symposium and exhibition.  

The two-day international symposium and exhibition on Gandhara was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad from 28 to 29 May. Religious leaders, experts, scholars, diplomats, historians, and art enthusiasts from Sri Lanka, Nepal, Thailand, and Vietnam participated, in providing a platform for the exchange of ideas and fostering connections.

Minister Wickramanayaka was the Chief Guest at the event and delivered the keynote speech. In his address he praised Pakistan’s role in enhancing cultural relations and achieving international recognition for Vesak Day. He emphasised the profound contribution of Buddhism to the culture, art, and civilisation of South Asia and beyond. He called for harnessing Buddhist values and promoting cultural diplomacy to unite people and nations, stating, “Let us make Gandhara a bridge to serve this purpose. We must make Gandhara a living legacy.” 

Acknowledging the contemporary challenges in preserving and promoting Gandharan heritage, the Minister outlined strategies for fostering greater awareness, conservation, and research through international cooperation and collaboration to safeguard this invaluable cultural treasure. 

During the visit, the Government of Pakistan arranged meetings for the delegation with the Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister and, the Minister of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony of Pakistan, as well as the Governors of KPK and Punjab Provinces. They also organised visits to important museums and Buddhist cultural and heritage sites for the visiting delegation.

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