Sharif’s Sri Lanka visit to see signing of 10 pacts

Sharif_Reuters_2611570fSri Lanka and Pakistan are expected to sign 10 pacts during Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visit to Colombo next month, The Hindu newspaper reported.

A spokesperson of the Pakistan High Commission said Mr. Sharif would be here “mostly in the first week of January”.

The pacts, aimed at improving bilateral cooperation, cover a range of issues such as youth development, health, culture, exchange of census data and scientific and technological cooperation. Exchange of financial intelligence related to money laundering and terrorist financing and prevention and deterrence of the two will also come under the ambit of the pacts. On Wednesday, the Sri Lankan Cabinet gave approval for signing the pacts.

Sharif had earlier visited Colombo in November 2013 to participate in the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

A look at the track record of the bilateral relationship reveals that Pakistan, in the past, has provided facilities and training to members of the Sri Lankan Armed Forces.

It had given a grant of $1 million for constructing homes for internally-displaced persons during the post-conflict development phase in Sri Lanka. It had made an offer of credit line to the tune of $200 million.

Since June 2005, the Pakistan Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (PSFTA) is in force. Under the PSFTA, Sri Lanka exported goods worth $52 million last year, which was about 70 per cent of the country’s total exports to Pakistan, according to a document of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.