Islamabad - Former President of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapaksa said on Thursday that terrorism is against the spirit of humanity and no country can prosper if people are compelled to live their lives under fear.

He was speaking at an event organised by the Centre for Research and Security Studies (CRSS) and Global Village Space (GVS).

The topic of the talk was ‘Sri Lanka’s Struggle for Peace and its Lessons for Pakistan and the Region.’

Rajapaksa said that Pakistan and Sri Lanka’s mutual relationship is sustained by cultural heritage, economies, and common stand on international issues.

“We are grateful for the unconditional and steadfast support we received from Pakistan. It is a matter of deep satisfaction that I was able to raise Sri Lanka’s voice with Pakistan. They have stood by us through thick and thin,” he said. Rajapaksa added there is no distinction between terrorists, mirroring the good versus bad Taliban debate in Pakistan.

He also said that in the case of Sri Lanka, armed forces provided unrelenting support, backed by actual and concrete actions on part of the government.

The former president said that successful anti-terrorism operations depend as much on internal factors as they do on external factors. Public education and support is necessary to thwart any sympathy or help for the enemy. There is no room for hypocrisy or double-dealing, he stressed.

In his concluding remarks, Ex-President Rajapaksa stressed, “We must learn from one another, be productive and provide practical solutions.”

He further stressed on the need for more such dialogues and platforms to better understand the menace of terrorism and employ measures to combat it and achieve peace in the region.

Lt Gen (Retd) Asif Yasin Malik said Pakistan has a lot to learn about peace-building from Sri Lanka, and there is a lot of parallel between the situations in the two countries vis-à-vis terrorism.

Former Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Seema Baloch stated that the Sri Lankan government took decisive action against terrorism.

Following its success, Sri Lanka began to open its routes and increasingly integrate with the international community.

Speaking on the issue of human rights, she called out the international community for its double standards.

“In some cases we describe the lives of others as collateral damage and in other cases we emphasize it as civilian casualty,” she said.