Friday, October 14, 2011

Sri Lankan Dengue Eradication Expert Team honoured at Reception hosted by High Commission of Pakistan

Sri Lankan Dengue Eradication Expert Team honoured  at Reception
hosted by High Commission of Pakistan

The High Commission of Pakistan in Colombo hosted a reception for the Sri Lankan Expert Medical team which returned from Pakistan after rendering most invaluable services to combat spread of Dengue menace in Pakistan.

The reception was attended by the Senior Minister Hon. A.H.M. Fowzi, Secretary Health Mr. Rubaro, Director General Dr. P.Pakhewadne, Senior Sri Lankan Government officials, the Expert Team members and the officers from the Pakistan High Commission Colombo.

            Looking at the growing rate of dengue patients in the Punjab province of Pakistan, the High Commission of Pakistan in Colombo requested the Sri Lankan Government to provide trained personnel to visit Pakistan for immediate assistance and training of Pakistani medical and paramedical staff to help combat and control the spread of disease.

            Resultantly, in a kind gesture of friendship, H.E the President of the Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapakhsa personally assured the High Commissioner of Pakistan HE Seema Illahi Baloch of his government’s commitment to assist the government and people of Pakistan to overcome the disease outbreak.

           During the reception the Charge d’ Affair of Pakistan High Commission said in her welcome remarks, that the people and Government of Pakistan are really grateful to the Sri Lankan Team of Medical Personnel who have performed one of the most onerous duties which cannot be described in words. She thanked His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksha and the Government of Srilanka, who warmly responded to the request by immediately sending the team to Pakistan with the fullest cooperation of Hon Minister Maithreepala Sirisena and Hon A.H.M Fowzi. She also thanked all the officials of the Ministry of Health, SriLanka who rallied behind their minister to fulfill this task successfully.

Both Sri Lanka and Pakistan enjoy a deep bond of cordial friendship and understanding which is mirrored in various walks of life. Apart from their deep mutual supportive relationship and sharing many common values, the populations in both the countries are also locked in a deep rooted friendship. Both the nations firmly believes this friendship and mutual understanding between the two brotherly countries will serve as a strong component which can be a harbinger for promoting peace and harmony in the region but also a great catalyst for bringing the people more closer.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A monument of Eternal Friendship Pakistan Pavilion at the International Buddhist Museum Kandy

A monument of Eternal Friendship

Pakistan Pavilion at the International Buddhist Museum Kandy

In response to the proposed plans for establishment of an International Buddhist Museum, the Government and people of Pakistan established the historic Pakistan Pavilion at the Sri Dalada International Museum of World Buddhism Kandy.

The Pakistan Pavilion was opened by President Mahinda Rajapaksha in May this year. This pavilion offers an excellent opportunity for the visitors to access religious information about the Buddhist sacred places in Pakistan.

Despite being a predominantly Muslim country the people and the government of Pakistan have preserved the heritage sites and the places of worship belonging to other religious communities.Normally with Pakistan the only faith that comes to mind is Islam. But the white portion of the Pakistani flag signifies that other religions are equally rich and gifted. Birth and final resting place of Baba Guru Nanak, founder of the Sikh religion, a land where Buddhism flourished, home of Shiva and Kali and a mesmerizing gallery of Islamic sites make Pakistan a dream come true for any soul in search of peace.

Buddhism left a monumental and rich legacy of art and architecture in Pakistan. Despite the vagaries of centuries, the Gandhara region preserved a lot of the heritage in craft and art. Much of this legacy is visible even today in Pakistan.

Today the Gandhara sculptures occupy a prominent place in the museums of England, France, Germany, USA, Japan, Korea, China, India and Afghanistan, together with many private collections world over, as well as a vast collection in the museums of Pakistan.
With this background and the eternal bond of friendship between the two brotherly countries of Pakistan and Srilanka, the Pakistan Pavilion at the International Buddhist Museum was established. It aims to showcase the historic legacy of Gandhara region of Pakistan, which is preserved in a highly respectable manner in Pakistan.
The Pakistan pavilion is composed of two chambers namely Gandhara and Taxilla, and it contains replica of historic Buddhist monuments from these respective regions. Following is the description of some of the famous replicas at the Pakistan pavilion:

The Fasting Siddhartha- Fasting for Salvation

The statue of Fasting Buddha has become an icon of the rich Gandhara heritage of Pakistan. It has unique characteristics, depicting the hardships that Siddharata endured to attain the enlightenment. This statue ranks not only as the finest specimen of Gandhara Art, but also as one of the rarest antiquities of the world. The original statue from 2nd century AD is available in Lahore Museum, Pakistan. It is 84 cm high and is made out of gray schist. It depicts Siddharata in “dhyana mudra” or the meditation gesture.

Visit of Buddha to a Brahman’s Hermitage

Siddhartha was facing some problems in attaining the enlightenment. He, therefore, decided to take advice of the Brahmans. He consulted the first one, but was not satisfied. He then consulted the second one who also could not solve his problem. He realized that the best way to find the solution was in his own way, without getting into consultation with anyone.

The Miracle of Sarasvati

The Lord Buddha displayed his miraculous powers at Sarasvati before king Prasenajit in a specially built pavilion to convert six heretical teachers of Rajgir. The Lord Buddha was challenged by them, who themselves had the claim to having miraculous powers. According to the Buddhist texts, the Buddha walked into the air while emitting, alternately, flames and streams of water from the upper and lower parts of his body. Then he showed himself also transforming into many images, which floated in the air into many directions which reached up to the Heaven while he preached Law. In still another, two naga kings – Nanda and Upananda – created a beautiful lotus before the king. The Buddha made himself seated over it and preached the Law. In Sanskrit, this attitude of the hands is known as the “Dharmachakramudra”.
Death of the Buddha (Mahaparinirvana)

The Buddha was traveling with his followers and Ananda, the foremost of his disciples, to teach law to the people. He fell ill and became weaker day by day. After crossing the Hirannavati River, he came to Kusinara Bend in Kusinagara, now in Uttar Pradesh, India. When he came to the Sal-tree Grove, he asked Ananda to prepare a platform for him as he was tired and would lie down. He then attained the first trance. Emerging from it, he went into the perpetual ones, till after the fourth trance, the Blessed One died. In Sanskrit, this is called “Mahaparinirvana”.
Pyre of Buddha- The Cremation

In accordance with the wish of the Buddha, the matter of the way of disposal for his bodily remains was left to the locals. Thus the Malla chiefs made the arrangements. Buddha’s body was placed on the perfumed wood and the four Malla nobles tried to set it on fire, but failed. Then arrived Mahakasyapa, who saluted the feet of the Buddha, walked thrice around it and bowed in reverence. All the monks present there repeated the ritual after him and the funeral pyre itself caught fire. When the body was fully consumed by the fire, streams of water fell from the sky and rose up from the ground to extinguish it. The Malla nobles also did the same with vessels of scented water and kept the bones in the Council Hall for seven days for the people to pay their homage.
Life in the Palace

King Suddhodhana was concerned about his son, Siddharata, for his extraordinary habits. The young prince preferred solitude and pensive moods to the youthful merriment and worldly enjoyment. The king felt alarmed as he had already been warned by the great Rishi Asita about Siddharata’s becoming a Universal Monarch or a Buddha. As such, to turn him to sensual pleasures he arranged sweet and beautiful girls who always surrounded him. After his marriage with Yosadhara, Prince Siddharata was given three palaces to suit each season. Dancing and singing girls entertained him with their soft voices, charming dances, playful intoxication, laughter, and side long glances.

Since its inauguration the Pakistan Pavilion has been visited by a large number of local and foreign visitors from all walks of life.

Donors aim to provide Sri Lanka with a brighter through investment in its children

Donors aim to provide Sri Lanka with a brighter through investment in its children

Vavuniya, Northern Sri Lanka, 10 October 2011- In a region which, until recently, had been mired in conflict, the joyful sound of high-pitched laughter danced in the air, as an audience of rapt children enthusiastically responded to the travelling company, ‘Clowns without Borders’. Charming the gathering of youth with their engaging brand of slapstick and puppetry, the troupe was there to help celebrate the opening of a new school.

The building’s construction – as well as the day’s entertainment- was facilitated by the Cathal Ryan Trust, from Ireland, whose remarkable generosity has already made so much possible in this part of the world. Investing millions of US dollars into education and health facilities in Sri Lanka, the trust team continues to assess future project possibilities in northern Sri Lanka.
Standing like a beacon in an otherwise barren landscape, the school includes 11 classrooms, which can accommodate 200 or more children, aged between 6 and 16. A child-friendly space, the building offers safe water and decent sanitation, as well as a computer unit and library.

Joint group to sort out India-Sri Lanka fishing issues

Joint group to sort out India-Sri Lanka fishing issues

The India-Sri Lanka Joint Working Group on Fisheries will meet “as soon as possible” to sort out outstanding issues on fishing in the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Bay, Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai said here on Monday. Meetings between fishermen associations from the two sides will also be resumed shortly.
Mr. Mathai met Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa ahead of embarking on a three-day visit to Sri Lanka, which ended on Monday. A meeting of the joint working group had to be called off for “logistical reasons.”
Mr. Mathai said that the fishermen's issue was a question of livelihood. “The whole issue has to be studied as a livelihood matter…The issue has to examined in terms of what is sustainable in the long run,” he said.
Speaking to representatives of the Indian media stationed here, Mr. Mathai said that he had raised the fishermen's issue in his discussions with Sri Lankan leaders. “We have emphasised the need to maintain a peaceful atmosphere in this area,” he said and added that he had stressed the need for investigating the reports of attacks on Indian fishermen to ensure that these did not recur.
Mr. Mathai said that Sri Lankan government had told him that its Navy was not part of the incidents of attack on Indian fishermen.
In Jaffna, the government agent brought to his notice that fishermen in the district were aggrieved over the fact that they were not able to fish in their own waters because of encroachment from the Indian side. “In the narrow area between India and Sri Lanka, the prospects for fishing are finite. Both of us need to look at ways in which we can encourage deep sea fishing. In the interim, we need to find solutions to the problems of Indian fishermen… In the deeper areas of the Indian Ocean, there are fishing grounds which are, at the moment, largely exploited by fishing fleet of non-littoral countries,” he said.
Mr. Mathai held discussions with President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa, Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Leader of the Opposition Ranil Wickramasinghe, representatives of Tamil political parties, and other civil society leaders during his visit.
Two projects
Mr. Mathai, who had come here for a familiarisation visit, said that he was “encouraged” by two of the projects that he saw — the Northern Railway project executed by the Indian public sector company IRCON, and the rehabilitation of the Kankasanthurai harbour. “The restoration of rail links will be a strong confidence-building measure for the restoration of normalcy...Kankasanthurai has the potential to become the point to bring in cargo to the entire north, instead of bringing it all the way from Colombo by road,” he said.
On the housing project, which envisages building/repairing 50,000 units in the war-ravaged northern province, he said that the “progress was somewhat slow than what was originally conceived.” He was of the opinion that some “further refinement” of the project was required and the company had assured that this would be done. “We would like to inaugurate the first wave of occupancy of these houses in the next few months,” he said.

Talk tough to Lanka, Jaya tells Manmohan

Talk tough to Lanka, Jayalalitha  tells indian PM Manmohan

Tamilnadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa today urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to convey the Centre's serious objection to Sri Lanka with regard to the continuous incidents of harassment and attacks on the fishermen of Tamilnadu.
In a letter to Manmohan, a copy of which was released to the press here, she said, 'I would also like to emphasise that the harassment of the fishermen of Tamilnadu should be viewed as an act of provocation and aggression against India by Sri Lanka, similar to acts of firing across the borders of India by neighbours such as Pakistan and China.  The attack on the fishermen belonging to Tamilnadu should be viewed as a national issue and not as an isolated problem of Tamilnadu alone.'
Bringing to the Prime Minister's attention various incidents of attacks and harassment of fishermen of Tamilnadu by the Sri Lankan Navy and Sri Lankan 'miscreants' while fishing in the Palk Bay area, the Chief Minister recalled that the the fishermen of Tamilnadu had, from time immemorial, been fishing in the Palk Bay area in order to earn their livelihood.
'This government accords the highest priority to protecting the fishing rights of its fishermen and ensuring their safety. I wish to inform you with deep anguish that since this government took charge in May 2011, there have been as many as 16 incidents of attacks / harassment and apprehension of Tamilnadu fishermen by the Sri Lankan Authorities.'
Jayalalithaa further said: 'When Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai called on me in Chennai on 8 October, I brought the various incidents of attacks and harassment to his notice and requested him to take up the above issues with the government of Sri Lanka.'
'However, it is distressing to note that on the same day, even before the Foreign Secretary reached Colombo, the Sri Lankan Navy again chased away our fishermen in the sea by firing in the air, off Mandapam coast of Ramanathapuram district and this incident has been widely reported in the print and electronic media.'
She added: 'I request your kind intervention in this issue of great concern and request the government of India to convey its serious objection to the Sri Lankan government with regard to the continuous incidents of harassment and attacks on the fishermen of Tamilnadu.'