Colombo, April 21 (newsin.asia): A 14-member delegation comprising senior Buddhist monks from Sri Lanka arrived in Lahore on Monday to undertake a tour of various Buddhist heritage sites in Pakistan.
Following the recent visit of the Prime Minister of Pakistan to Sri Lanka, the high-level Buddhist Monks’ visit was arranged by the High Commission of Pakistan in Colombo to promote religious tourism to Pakistan and to enhance people-to-people contact between Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
While deeply appreciating the keen interest shown by the senior Monks to undertake the visit, High Commissioner Major General (R) Muhammad Saad Khattak personally saw the delegation off at the Bandaranaike International Airport, Colombo on 19th.
Express Tribune reporting from Lahore said that the monks started their tour with a visit to the Lahore Museum which houses some of the finest remains of the Gandhara civilisation and rare Buddhist relics including the ‘Fasting Buddha’ and ‘Sikri Stupa’ dating back to 2 Century BC.
The Buddhist delegation, led by Venerable Dr Walpole Piyananda (Abbot and President, Dharmavijaya Buddhist Vihara, USA), will visit Islamabad, Taxila, Shahbaz Garhi, Takht-e-Bhai, Jehanabad (Swat) and Lahore. The tour will end on April 26.
The Buddhist delegation will also hold meetings with the officials of the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony and meet President Dr Arif Alvi, Prime Minister Imran Khan and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi during their sojourn in the federal capital.
The Second Secretary, High Commission of Pakistan Colombo Ms Ayesha Abu Bakr Fahad told APP that a lot of people do not know that Pakistan is home to the glorious Gandhara Buddhist civilisation.
“In line with the Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision to promote religious tourism to earn valuable foreign exchange, we planned to make the Buddhist clergy visit Pakistan and see the historical treasures that the country has,” she added.
Pakistan is home to the ancient Buddhist civilisation but it has remained hidden from the eyes of the world over the years.