Naveed Ahmad Khan Photo by Raja Farid
ISLAMABAD: The High Commission of Sri Lanka in Islamabad commemorated the 76th anniversary of the independence of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka with a splendid ceremony held at a local hotel in Islamabad.
Dr. Nadeem Jan, the Federal Minister for Health Services, Regulation and Coordination was the chief guest on the occasion. Dignitaries, Sri Lankan High Commission staff, representatives, and friends of Sri Lanka, including the Honorary Consul of Sri Lanka in Lahore, Yasin Joya, and the Honorary Consul in Karachi, graced the occasion with their presence.
Dr. Nadeem Jan extended warm congratulations to the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka for orchestrating a successful event and conveyed felicitations from the Government and people of Pakistan to the Government and people of Sri Lanka on their Independence Day. He highlighted the decades-long diplomatic, trade, and defence relations between the two countries, acknowledging the shared challenges and mutual cooperation.
In his address, High Commissioner of Sri Lanka Admiral Wijegunaratne (retd) delivered an inspiring speech, shedding light on recent developments and remarkable achievements in Sri Lanka, particularly in the fight against terrorism. He extended gratitude to the Pakistani government and military for their steadfast support across various domains and underscored the need for further fortifying the enduring friendship and robust defence ties between the two nations.
The celebration commenced with the stirring national anthems of both Sri Lanka and Pakistan, performed by a distinguished military band. This moment of unity was followed by the ceremonial lighting of the traditional lamp by the esteemed High Commissioner of Sri Lanka, along with the Chief Guest and other eminent dignitaries, symbolizing enlightenment and solidarity.
The event also featured an engaging three-minute video showcasing Sri Lanka’s development strides and achievements, underscoring the nation’s commitment to international collaboration. Notably, the video spotlighted Sri Lanka’s significant humanitarian gesture of donating over 30,000 eye corneas to Pakistan, exemplifying the deep-rooted humanitarian bonds between the two nations.
The ceremonial cutting of the Sri Lankan Independence Day cake was a moment of camaraderie, led by High Commissioner Admiral Ravindra Vijaygunaratne, along with Chief Guest Federal Health Minister Nadeem Jan, the High Commissioner of Mauritius, Defense Attaché of South Africa, and other esteemed dignitaries.
Earlier: The High Commission of Sri Lanka in Islamabad, Pakistan celebrated the 76th Anniversary of the Independence of Sri Lanka on 4th February 2024 at the High Commission premises.
The official ceremony in the morning of 04th February commenced with the hoisting of the national flag by His Excellency Admiral Ravindra C Wijegunaratne (Retd), the High Commissioner followed by rendering of the National Anthem in Sinhala, observing two-minute silence to pay tribute to those who made the supreme sacrifice on behalf of the nation.
After the lighting of the traditional lamp by the by the High Commissioner and dignitaries, the religious ceremony commenced with blessings for the country, the leader and the people of Sri Lanka by clergies/priests representing Buddhism, Islam, Christianity and Hindu religions.
The National Day message of H.E the President was read out by H.E the High Commissioner (Sinhala) followed by in Tamil and English by Mr A Christy Ruban, Minister and Brigadier Kaminda Silva, Minister Counsellor (Defence) of this Mission respectively.
Later, Admiral Wijegunaratne (Retd) made an inspiring and thought-provoking speech, highlighting responsibilities of citizens especially youths’ contributions towards the country’s development,and long-standing friendly relations of both nations, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
At the end of the formal event, the invitees numbering around 120 including the Honorary Consul of Sri Lanka to Peshawar, Tri Forces Officers and a large number of students following various courses/higher studies in the universities in Islamabad, Rawalpindi and Peshawar along with home-based staff and local staff of the High Commission and their family members were served lunch including milk rice hosted by the High Commission.
The occasion concluded with the playing of national Anthem in Tamil.