The High Commissioner of Pakistan in Sri Lanka Maj. Gen. (R) Syed Shakeel Hussain along with Chief Guest, Minister for Sports, Hon. Dayasiri Jayasekera, Minister for Plantation Industries, Hon. Navin Dissanayake, Minister for Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media, Hon. Gayantha Karunathilaka, Minister for Law & Order and Southern Development, Hon. Sagala Ratnayake, Minister for Post, Postal Affairs and Muslim Religious Affairs, Hon. M.H.A. Haleem, State Minister for National Integration and Reconciliation, Hon. A.H.M. Fouzie and Chief Executive of Trade Development of Pakistan (TDAP) S M Muneer formally inaugurated the Pakistan Single Country Exhibition 2017 at Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH) today.

The Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) in collaboration with High Commission of Pakistan in Sri Lanka organized 2nd edition of Pakistan Single Country Exhibition which is featuring leading Pakistani companies and manufacturers of Engineering Products, Auto Parts, Agro Products, Textile & Clothing, Designer Wear, Handicraft & Traditional Textiles, Pharmaceuticals, Cutlery, Furniture, Carpets, Marble and Services.

While addressing the inaugural ceremony, the High Commissioner of Pakistan Maj. Gen. (R) Syed Shakeel Hussain underlined that, last year, the exhibition was launched with a view to make it an annual event that should work as a catalyst for synergizing deeper economic relations between the two brotherly countries. He expressed the happiness that this year the trade expo has the unique distinction of being the largest ever exhibition of Pakistan within and outside the country with the participation of 156 companies that clearly shows the positive response from both Pakistani and Sri Lankan business interests. He underscored that such events are an opportunity for the Sri Lankan business community to interact with the visiting Pakistani business entities through B2B meetings.

He also highlighted that Pakistan is a country of 200 million people with nearly 50 billion USD imports and it is expected that growth would reach from current 5% to 7% in next two years with the investment under CPEC projects. He urged the Sri Lankan government to explore Pakistan as market for Sri Lankan goods and services.

H.E. Shakeel Hussain expressed the hope that the people of Sri Lanka will not only have the opportunity to witness the varieties of Pakistan’s countless and extremely diverse products but will also be able to buy them.

Minister for Plantation Industries, Hon. Navin Dissanayake said that the importance of collaboration between the two friendly countries has increased tremendously in modern times for promoting cultural, civilizational and trade dialogue. He added that Pakistan and Sri Lanka are bonded together not only in the world of Cricket but other sports activities.

He further said that Pakistan is a motherland of Buddhism and Gandhara. The deep mutual love between the two people transcending any material bases is the essential ingredient of inherent strength of this special relationship that is further cemented by the commonality of eternal values of universal peace and love. He lauded the efforts of Government of Pakistan to preserve and restore the centuries-old Buddhist sites.

Hon. Navin Dissanayake recalled that Pakistan has rendered unconditional support to Sri Lanka in the form of military hardware and training to eliminate terrorism. When Jaffna was on the verge of separation, on the call of the then Sri Lanka President Chandrika Bandaranayake Kumaratunga, the Pakistan’s leadership quickly responded and provided necessary equipment and support to curb the insurgency. The government and people of Sri Lanka will never forget this great support of Pakistan government. This relationship between the two brotherly countries are getting stronger day-by-day, he added.

The Chief Executive of TDAP Mr. SM Munir while appreciating the support and cooperation extended by the Government and people of Sri Lanka for organizing the exhibition in a befitting manner, said that Pakistan is one of the rapidly emerging economies of the world with friendly business environment created by the current government through policies aimed at achieving micro-economic stability in the country.

He highlighted that Pakistan Stock Exchange has been ranked 5th best performing stock market in the world in 2016, by Bloomberg. In 2016, Pakistan’s GDP grew by 4.7 % which is highest in last few years. China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a real game changer and will be beneficial for the whole region, he added.

After inauguration, the dignitaries visited the stalls and appreciated the enormous variety and quality of Pakistani products.

The event was attended by several important personalities from the Sri Lankan business and trade sectors along with Sri Lanka based diplomatic corps and a large number of people from different walks of life. The exhibition will remain open until 15th January 2017 for general public.