Islamabad - Sri Lanka gained independence from British rule on 4th February, 1948. On the occasion of 70th anniversary of Independence Day of Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, the high commissioner of Sri Lanka Maj.Gen (R) Jayanath Lokuketagodage hosted a colorful event in Islamabad.

Several ambassadors put their heart in the event to make it memorable. The venue was fully packed as people from various walks of life including politicians, business community representatives, diplomats, and media men of from all over the country attended the event.

Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training, Engr. Muhammad Baligh Ur Rehman was the chief guest. Muhammad Baligh Ur Rehman also said that he had visited Sri Lanka twice, once in a personal capacity and second in official one to attend the SAARC interior Minister conference during his term as minister for state of Interior.

There was an unprecedented representation of the business community from all over Pakistan. President FPCCI Ghazafar Bilour , Vice president SAARC chamber of commerce and industry Mr. Iftikhar Ali Malik ,Shakil Ahmed Dhingra, Mariam Chaudhy and Rizwana Shahid ,Shireen Arshad from Karachi Chamber of Commerce and from Islamabad chamber of commerce and industry Sheikh Amir Waheed,Nasir Qureshi, Khalid Iqbal Malik, Zahid Maqbool participated in the event.

SAARC Countries ambassadors including Indian High commissioner Mr. Ajay Bisaria, Nepal Ambassador Ms Sewa Lamsal Adhikari, Bangladesh  High commissioner  Mr.Tarik Ahsan  , Afghanistan Ambassador  Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal   and  Maldives ambassador Mr.AhmedSaleem  were sitting on  the stage.

National anthem of Pakistan and Sri Lanka were played and a cake was also cut by the chief guest and the SAARC ambassadors collectively.

The new Dean of the diplomatic Corp and Ambassador of Turkmenistan Atajan Movlamov attended the first reception as dean. The ambassador of Tajikistan Mr Sherali Jananov informed that a cultural troupe from his countries is coming to Pakistan in March to perform in different cities

Sri Lankan National Day event was like a cultural festival that depicted everything about the country. It was a fusion of discussion and music. Sri Lankan Cultural Troupe including Arunashantha, NuwanKumara, SarathNuwan Kumara, Priyanath, Dayarathna, Athanayaka, Senadeera, Chanthurika, Perera Kasg had come from Sri Lanka especially to perform at the event. They highlighted the tradition, and culture of their country.

There are three main styles of Sri Lankan Classical Dance. Thekandyan dances of the hill country are known as Uda Rata Natum, the low country dances of southern plains are known as Pahatha Rata Natum and Sabaragamuwa Natum. The three dances differ in their style of body movements. The main distinguishing feature between Kandyan, Sabaragamu dancing and Ruhunu dancing is that Ruhunu dancers wear masks. Female troupe performed “Suramba Walliya” dance which is a low country traditional dance with a traditional drum called Devol Beraya. One of the troupes performed “Raban Dance” which is a very popular folk dance in Sri Lanka performed with a specific drum called Raban. Panndam Paliya mask dance was performed by male dancers.

Pakistan and Sri Lanka are two important countries of the South Asian region. Their diplomatic relations go back as early as 1948. Sri Lanka is important to Pakistan historically because it signed the first ever free trade agreement with Sri Lanka. Few friendships are historical and inherited like that with Turkey, Azerbaijan, Saudi Arabia and Iran. Friendship with these countries existed between the Muslims of the subcontinent. But there are few friendships which were developed after the creation of Pakistan through wise leadership and consistent efforts of the foreign office. In this list are China, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Indonesia. China has emerged as a super power and future of Pakistan mostly relies on this friendship. One belt One Road initiative and the CPEC Project is an opportunity for prosperity of Pakistan.

Nepal, Sri Lanka and Pakistan have one thing in common; their foreign policy is to develop strong relations with China. China is also developing a Hambantota port in Sri Lanka like Gwadar in Pakistan.

-The writer is a freelance