Pakistan - Sri Lanka relations based on commonality of eternal values : Envoy | Daily News
International Seminar on ‘Buddhist and Gandhara Civilisation' held in Colombo

Pakistan - Sri Lanka relations based on commonality of eternal values : Envoy

Sri Lanka and Pakistan inherit a rich cultural heritage and strong cultural relations which are deep-rooted in history. The mutual love between the two people, transcending any other consideration, is the foundation of special relationship that is further cemented by the commonality of eternal values of universal peace and love for humanity, espoused both by Buddhism and Islam.

High Commissioner of Pakistan, Maj. Gen.(R) Dr. Shahid Ahmad Hashmat expressed these views during his concluding address at an International Seminar on ‘Buddhist and Gandhara Civilization: The Cultural Nexus between Pakistan and Sri Lanka’, organised by the High Commission of Pakistan in collaboration with the Buddhist and Pali University, Homagama held on March 11, 2019.

Renowned scholars from China, Germany, Pakistan and Sri Lanka were the keynote speakers at the seminar. The scholars include Prof. Dr. Li Xiguang, Director, Tsinghua University International Center for Communication, China, Prof. Dr. Hugh van Skyhawk, University of Mainze, Germany, Brig. (R) Agha Ahmad Gul, Former Vice Chancellor, University of Balochistan, Pakistan, Dr. Safdar Ali Shah, Director General, High Education Commission, Pakistan, Prof. Dr. Ghani-ur-Rehman, Director, Taxila Institute of Asian Civilizations, Pakistan and Ven. Senior Prof. Dr. Gallelle Sumanasiri Thera, Vice Chancellor, Buddhist and Pali University of Sri Lanka.

Brig. (R) Agha Ahmad Gul, in his presentation, elaborated the various facets of Gandhara Civilisation and its historical and cultural influence.

Prof. Dr. Ghan-ur-Rehman elaborated that one of the brightest chapter of the history of Pakistan is the Buddhist Gandhara that flourished during the first five centuries of the Common era.

Prof. Dr.Hugh van Skyhawk explained that among the many statues and relics of Gandhara art, there is a motif that is better known than any other the world over: the fasting Siddhartha.

Prof. Dr. Li Xiguang shared the travel notes about Uddiyana (Swat valley in northern Pakistan) written by the five Chinese pilgrims from Faxian in the 5th century, Song Yun in the sixth century, Xuanzang in the seventhth century, Huichao and Wukong in the eighth century. In Chinese Buddhism, Uddiyanais identified with Western Heaven where the universal emperor Jade Emperor and the immortals live.

Dr. Safdar Ali Shah explained glimpses of Buddhist heritage, including famous monasteries, stupas, and specimen of Gandhara Art preserved in Pakistan. He further added that when Buddhism spread beyond its birthplace, the first two places where it took root were Gandhara (Pakistan) and Ceylon (Sri Lanka). Among other places, relics of Buddha were enshrined in the great stupas of Gandhara which linked it with other dhato-garbha (relic-depository) stupas around the world, including Sri Lanka.

Buddhist and Pali University of Sri Lanka Vice Chancellor, Ven. Senior Prof. Dr. Gallelle Sumanasiri Thera welcoming the guests paid rich tribute to the Government of Pakistan for preservation of the archaeological treasures, Buddhist sites and artifacts, which he witnessed during his visit to Pakistan. He also appreciated the High Commission of Pakistan for holding the International Seminar at Buddhist and Pali University.

High Commissioner of Pakistan, Dr. Shahid Ahmad Hashmat announced that the Government of Pakistan through its High Commission will be awarding 1000 scholarships to Sri Lankan students in diverse fields and exchange of faculty members, students and programmes.

He invited participants and students of the Buddhist and Pali University to visit Pakistan and assured that the High Commission of Pakistan will provide complete assistance and visa facilitation in this regard.

He emphasised that Pakistan is a peace loving country and it supports promotion of cooperation in all areas with South Asian nations and with Sri Lanka in particular. 


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