*Pakistan was home to the Gandhara Buddhist heritage, Dr. Arif Alvi*
Islamabad: President Dr Arif Alvi has said that Pakistan highly values its ties with Sri Lanka as both countries enjoyed excellent relations in various fields which are based on mutual respect and trust. He stated that Pakistan considered Sri Lanka as special partner and friend and wanted to further improve bilateral cooperation for the mutual benefits of the two friendly countries. He made these remarks while talking to a delegation of Sri Lankan Buddhist monks, which called on him, at Aiwan-e-Sadr
Welcoming the delegation, the President said that Pakistan was home to the Gandhara Buddhist heritage and proud custodian of some of the most sacred relics of Buddha offering great potential for promoting religious tourism from Sri Lanka to Pakistan. He told the delegation to encourage the monks and people of Sri Lanka to visit the Buddhist religious sites in Pakistan as it had far greater number of Buddhist artefacts than any other country in the world. He added that people-to-people contacts and religious tourism provided excellent platforms to further expand bilateral cooperation. The President expressed the hope that the delegation would enlighten their followers about Pakistan’s Buddhist heritage and also encourage them to undertake religious tours to Pakistan. The delegation deeply thanked the Government of Pakistan for making excellent arrangements to facilitate its visit to Buddhist sites. It also appreciated the measures taken by Pakistan for the renovation and preservation of Buddhist heritage sites.