Sri Lanka cancels Imran Khan's planned address to its Parliament: Media reports

PTI | Colombo | Updated: 18-02-2021 12:45 IST | Created: 18-02-2021 12:25 IST
Sri Lanka cancels Imran Khan's planned address to its Parliament: Media reports
Representative image. Image Credit: ANI

Sri Lanka has cancelled Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's planned address to its Parliament during his upcoming visit to Colombo, according to media reports.

Sergeant-at-Arms of Parliament, Narendra Fernando said he has informed Parliament that the Pakistan Prime Minister's visit to Sri Lanka will go ahead as scheduled, the Colombo Gazette website reported on Wednesday.

However, the Foreign Ministry had informed Parliament officials that his proposed visit to the Parliament complex will not take place.

Pakistan Prime Minister Khan will arrive in Sri Lanka on February 22 on a two-day official state visit.

Khan, who will be the first head of state to visit the country since the COVID-19 pandemic, is to hold talks with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena during the visit.

It is said that the speech to Parliament had been included in Khan's itinerary at the Pakistan government's request. However, it was later cancelled and Sri Lankan media gave various reasons for the cancellation of Khan's address, Pakistan's Dawn newspaper reported on Thursday.

The address was scheduled for February 24.

According to Sri Lanka's daily Express, Foreign Secretary Jayanath Colombage said that Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena had requested for the cancellation of Khan's address, citing COVID-19.

Dawn newspaper quoting Sri Lankan media reports that there were elements within the Sri Lankan government, who did not want the speech to take place as they feared that doing so could further harm ties with India, which have already been strained after the cancellation of a deal over the East Container Terminal in Colombo port, Dawn newspaper said.

It was expected that Khan would raise the Kashmir issue during his speech, which could have upset Delhi, it said. Tensions between India and Pakistan spiked after New Delhi abrogated provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution to withdraw Jammu and Kashmir''s special status and bifurcated it into two Union Territories in 2019.

Pakistan has been trying to internationalise the Kashmir issue but India has asserted that the abrogation of Article 370 was its ''internal matter''. Another speculation doing the rounds is that the Sri Lankan government was concerned about Khan speaking about the rights of Muslims in Sri Lanka, who have faced abuses at the hands of Buddhist majority, rising anti-Muslim sentiments, and biased government actions.

The Sri Lankan government had made compulsory cremation rule for those dying from COVID-19, enraging the Muslim community in the country. The government, however, earlier this month exempted the Muslims from cremation and allowed them to bury their dead after a global outcry over the issue.

Khan had welcomed the Sri Lankan government's decision. The Pakistan Prime Minister's visit, scheduled a month after Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar's three-day visit to Colombo, will coincide with the 46th UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva, where a new resolution on Sri Lanka is likely to be adopted. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had addressed Sri Lanka's Parliament in 2015.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)



East African women traders: 'Celebrating the past, planning for the future'

COVID-19 has hit women disproportionately hard across East Africa, especially those working in the informal sector. Lessons must be learnt to prevent this from happening again....

Viral variants and vaccine nationalism pose two-pronged threat to Covid victory

... ...

Tracking Fintech during COVID-19: Harnessing power of technology

Its abundantly clear now that as fintech cements its place in the financial sector, accelerated further by the COVID-19 pandemic, it could open the sector to new possibilities by harnessing the power of technology to deliver financial ...

Tectonic turns: How technology shaped healthcare over the decades

Tracing an episodic evolution, with technology at the interface of human and his health....


Latest News

2020 riots:Court dismisses plea seeking handcuffs for Umar Khalid and Khalid Saifi

A court here on Thursday dismissed the applications seeking to produce former JNU student Umar Khalid and activist Khalid Saifi, arrested in connection with the last years northeast Delhi riots, before it in handcuffs and sought explanation...

Nearly 400 passengers flee Silchar airport to avoid COVID-19

As many as 385 passengers, who landed at the Silchar airport on Wednesday, created disorder and fled the facility to escape mandatory COVID-19 testing, officials said on Thursday, and asserted criminal action will be initiated against them....

IPL Scoreboard: RCB vs RR

Scoreboard of the IPL match between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Rajasthen Royals here on Thursday.Rajasthan Royals Innings Jos Buttler b Siraj 8 Manan Vohra c Richardson b Jamieson 7 Sanju Samson c Maxwell b Washington 21 David Miller l...

Former Swiss police employee jailed for selling guns via dark net

The former chief of logistics at a regional Swiss police force has been jailed for eight months after he sold guns and bullets to undisclosed persons via the dark net. The man, who has not been identified, was sentenced to 28 months in pris...

Give Feedback