Saturday, January 22, 2011


The Embassy of Sri Lanka in Washington, D.C. recognized the Hindu harvest festival of Thai Pongal last week with a ceremony at the Embassy attended by a large number of Sri Lankans living in the Greater Washington area.

Sri Lankan Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya and Hindu Priest Sivanth Kurukkal light the traditional oil lamp in observance of the Hindu festival of Thai Pongal.
Thai Pongal is a major festival in Sri Lanka, marking the harvest, the gifts of the earth and sun and the renewal of the seasons. People are encouraged to let go of the past and to focus on growth and the promise of the future. In Sri Lankan households, this often means re-arranging items as an act of renewal.

Hindu priest Sivanth Kurukkal, conducted the religious observances and offerd blessings of prosperity and harmony among all communities in Sri Lanka. The traditional Hindu oil lamp was lit by Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya. Next followed a program of devotional songs by Ms. Deepa Srikumar and Mr. Earnest Dharmapala to Lord Ganesh, Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu, Lord Murugan to mark Thai Pongal.
Ambassador Wickramasuriya addresses the members of the Sri Lankan community in Washington, D.C.

Ambassador Wickramasuriya, told the gathering that, “Thai Pongal puts a special spotlight on renewal. Today in Sri Lanka, renewal is taking place. I have been home several times in the past year, and each time that I travel to the North I am amazed by the changes there. The North is today is free. It is coming back to life.”

At the reception that followed the religious ceremony, the refreshments served included an array of foods traditionally associated with Thai Pongal.        

The celebrations were held in keeping with the tradition of the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Washington DC of celebrating the important religious festivals of Sri Lanka.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Maiden Launch of the Quetta Association in Srilanka and the visit of Pakistani Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani

Maiden Launch of the
Quetta Association in Srilanka and the visit of Pakistani Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani

Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani

Pakistani Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani accompanied by his spouse Mrs. Zahida Kayani is currently on a visit to Srilanka. 

Since independence, Sri Lanka and Pakistan have consistently maintained close, cordial and mutually supportive relations especially in the field of defense. Both nations have assisted each other during testing times in their history.

Besides meetings with the top leadership of the country and address to the student officers at the Srilankan Defense Services Command and Staff College today, General Kayani will also be formally inaugurating the Srilanka Chapter of The Quetta Association.

 Srilanka will have the privilege of being the first country in the world where Quetta Association will be launched. This Association comprises the Srilankan graduate officers of the Command and Staff College Quetta Pakistan. The Command and Staff College Quetta is the oldest training institution of Pakistan Army and it was established in 1905. The total member of the Quetta Association in Srilanka is 42, who hold highly significant assignments in their respective institutions.

The Quetta Association is a non-governmental, non-political, non-religious, non-ethnic, non racial and non-profitable organization. It provides a platform of interaction to the Graduates of the Command and Staff College Quetta and provides them an opportunity for intellectual exchange of current developments in the region with particular focus on Srilanka and Pakistan.

The Quetta Association will operate as a dynamic forum for both the defense forces to identify common threats and evolve common strategies to face current regional and global threats and challenges. The scope of the Quetta Association will be gradually enhanced to also engage Ex graduates of the other premier defense institution of Pakistan like National Defense University, School of Infantry and Tactics, Air War College, Naval Staff College, etc.                  
   Pakistan and Sri Lanka have comprehensive and mutually beneficial training collaboration for Army, Navy and Air Force. Over a period of time, a strong bond of commitment and mutual understanding has been reached between both the friendly armed forces. In future too, both the brotherly countries are expected to work more closely in the field of defence to boost peace efforts in the region.                               
General Ashfaq Parvez is the focal leader behind this challenging Global War against Terrorism efforts. With his superb command and prudent strategic direction Pak-Army has successfully flushed out militants from picturesque Swat Valley, where peace and normalcy has been completely restored.

The COAS with his deep understanding of the GWOT and patriotic intent has not only safeguarded vital national interests but also brought admiration for Pakistan amongst the whole world.  

 As COAS he never overlooked the welfare of his brave troops and declared his first year of command as “Soldier’s Year” that witnessed extensive welfare projects for the soldiers of Pak-Army.

General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani took over as the new Chief of Army Staff (COAS) after General Musharraf's retirement on November 28, 2007. General Kayani is the first officer in the history of Pakistan who held the position of DG ISI and then went on to become the Chief of Army Staff (COAS). Presently in Global War on Terror (GWOT), a major and critical role is being played by Pak-Army.

The visit of Pakistan’s Army Chief is highly significant as it is the first visit of Pakistan’s Army Chief to Sri Lanka following the defeat of LTTE in 2009. During the 3 decade long war against LTTE, Pakistan played a crucial and decisive role by assisting the Srilankan Government and the armed forces. The visit of Pakistan’s Army Chief provides an opportunity to the two brotherly countries to exchange expertise and also provide an occasion for further strengthening of future relationship in the present context.




Pakistan greatly values its relations with Sri Lanka. Our relations are based on mutual trust and shared interests in maintaining regional peace, security and stability. This was stated by Chairman Senate, Mr. Farooq H. Naek while talking to a visiting Speaker of Sri Lankan Parliament, H.E. Chamal Rajapaksa and members of his delegation who called on him at the Parliament House here this evening.
The Chairman said Pakistan fully supports the unity, territorial integrity and sovereignty of Sri Lanka. Our two countries enjoy commonality of views on regional and international issues and coordinate their positions at the United Nations and SAARC, he added.
            He said Pakistan is against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. We are victims of terrorism; we lost our great leader Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto at the hands of terrorists. We have lost thousands of innocent civilians and valiant personnel of the armed forces. Terrorism has badly affected our economy and day to day lives, he further added.                                                     
Chairman expressed happiness that Sri Lankan Government has been able to defeat terrorism. He said, rehabilitation of the victims of violence and unrest is an issue, but I am confident that would be managed successfully.
            He underscored the need for enhanced exchange of Parliamentary delegations between the two countries to promote people-to-people contacts. Such visits will help promote greater cooperation between the two Parliaments, he said. He also appreciated the establishment of the Sri Lanka-Pakistan Parliamentarians Friendship Association.
While apprising the delegation on the damage and devastation caused by the floods in Pakistan, the Chairman Senate said it is the biggest human tragedy in the history of Pakistan, floods have left the entire agriculture sector in shambles, livestock have been equally devastated, standing crops worth billion of dollar have been destroyed. He said that the victims of this immense tragedy need solidarity, concrete help and assistance from the world community.
On the occasion, the chairman conveyed the appreciation of the Government and people of Pakistan for the flood relief assistance provided by the Government of Sri Lanka.
The Chairman expressed satisfaction over the volume of trade between two countries which has been doubled from US$ 140 million to around US$ 300 million in the last four years. He hoped the figure of US$ 1 billion will be achieved by 2012. He also assured that Pakistan will continue to work towards economic progress of Sri-Lanka.
While talking on the cultural cooperation between the two countries, the Chairman said that the Government of Pakistan attaches great importance to the preservation of the Gandhara heritage, Buddhist relics and sites, as a standing tribute to the shared past of our two nations. He invited a delegation of Buddhist monks and scholars to visit Gandhara sites in Pakistan.
Leader and members of the Sri Lankan delegation thanked the Chairman Senate, Deputy Chairman Senate and Honourable Senators for warm welcome and hospitality extended to them and assured all possible help and assistance in consolidating the Pakistan-Sri Lanka relations.
The meeting was attended by Leader of the House in the Senate, Syed Nayyer Hussain Bokhari, Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Wasim Sajjad, and Senators Professor Khurshid Ahmed, Raja Muhammad Zafar-ul-Haq, Mrs. Saeeda Iqbal, Mrs. Semeen Yusuf Siddiqui, Mr. Salim Saifullah Khan, Mr. Abbas Khan Afridi, Saleh Shah and Senator-in-Waiting Sardar Ali Khan.
The Sri-Lankan delegation included Mr. A. H. M. Fowzie, Minister of Disaster Management; Al Haj A. H. M. Azwer, MP; Mrs. Kamala Ranatunga, MP; Mrs. Anoma Gamage; Mr. Seeniththamby, MP and Mrs. Vijayakala Maheswaran, MP.
Earlier, Sri Lankan Parliamentary delegation who is visiting Pakistan on the invitation of Honourable Chairman Senate, Mr. Farooq H. Naek was received by Deputy Chairman Senate, Mir Jan Muhammad Khan Jamali, Deputy Speaker National Assembly, Mr. Faisal Karim Kundi on its arrival at the Benazir Bhutto International Airport, Islamabad.
Later, the Honourable Chairman Senate hosted a dinner in honour of the Speaker Sri Lankan Parliament and Members of his delegation which was attended by Deputy Speaker National Assembly, Honourable Senators, senior government officials and other distinguished guests.

Sri Lanka Election Commissioner rejects 84 applications seeking registration

Sri Lanka Election Commissioner rejects 84 applications seeking registration

Sri Lanka Elections Commissioner has rejected 84 applications from political parties sought registration. Elections Commissioner calls for applications for registration of new political parties every January according to the Elections Amendment Act No 58 of 2009.
Additional Commissioner of Elections Mr. W.W. Sumanasiri said that during elections no political party is registered. The applications were last called for in May 2010, a month after the completion of the 2010 Parliamentary General Election.
“Every January we call for application to register new political parties. But when there is an election around it is suspended and within one month of the completion of an election we call for application” Mr Sumanasiri told  to  Media.
Accordingly, he said, his Department called for application in May
2010 after the election of 2010 Parliamentary elections. In between
the Commissioner had exchanged letters with parties sought
registration requesting for necessary documents as per the new
amendment to the Elections Act.

Friday, January 7, 2011

local government polls open on January 20

local government polls open on January 20

Nominations for the 308 dissolved local government bodies will be accepted from January 20 - 27 at relevant District Secretary's offices, Election Department has told the local media. 
The Sri Lankan government on Thursday night terminated the term of office for 308 local government bodies out of the total of 330 institutions. Minister of Local government and provincial councils Mr. A.L.M Athaulla had issued the gazette notification in this regard yesterday.
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