Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Pakistan leaders express their regrets to the people of Sri Lanka

President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister, Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani of Pakistan telephoned President Mahinda Rajapaksa today (03 March 2009) in Kathmandu, to strongly condemn the terrorist attack on the visiting Sri Lanka Cricket team in Lahore today, in which several team members were injured. Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama was associated with the President during the telephone discussions.

President Rajapaksa who is currently on a State Visit to Nepal, has decided to return to Sri Lanka cutting short his visit by a day, after completing his official engagements, as a result of this terrorist attack.

Both the President and the Prime Minister of Pakistan conveyed their sincere apologies to the people and the Government of Sri Lanka for the harm caused to the Sri Lankan players by terrorists in Pakistan. They expressed their profound sympathy and concern for the welfare of the injured cricketers and assured President Rajapaksa that Pakistan is determined to combat terrorism and will work with the international community and Sri Lanka to defeat terrorism.

President Rajapaksa in response stated that he will be sending Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama to Islamabad immediately to meet Pakistan leaders to follow up matters pertaining to the incident. He reiterated Sri Lanka’s position that terrorism should be countered with firm resolve worldwide in all its forms and manifestations.

The President and the Prime Minister of Pakistan strongly supported President Rajapaksa’s call and agreed that this is a very unfortunate incident and that Sri Lanka and Pakistan are victims of terrorism and that both countries should stand together to urge the international community to combat terrorism.

President Rajapaksa thanked the Pakistan authorities for taking immediate action to provide medical treatment for the injured players and to strengthen security for the team. He expressed confidence that the culprits of this terrorist attack will be apprehended and brought to book at the earliest.

Following President Rajapaksa’s directive that a special flight be sent to Pakistan to bring the National Cricket team back home today, Foreign Minister Bogollagama has arranged the modalities of the operation from Kathmandu in coordination with the Sri Lankan High Commission in Islamabad and the Foreign Ministry in Colombo