ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi said Pakistan was home to the Gandhara Buddhist heritage and was a proud custodian of some of the most sacred relics of Buddha.
Talking to a delegation of Sri Lankan Buddhist monks who called on him at Aiwan-e-Sadr, the president said there existed the immense potential for promoting religious tourism from Sri Lanka to Pakistan.
President Alvi said Pakistan highly valued its ties with Sri Lanka as both countries enjoyed excellent relations in various fields which were based on mutual respect and trust.
He said Pakistan considered Sri Lanka as a special partner and friend and wanted to further improve bilateral cooperation for the mutual benefits of the two friendly countries.
He told the delegation to encourage the monks and people of Sri Lanka to visit the Buddhist religious sites in Pakistan as it had a far greater number of Buddhist artefacts than any other country in the world.
He added that people-to-people contacts and religious tourism provided excellent platforms to further expand bilateral cooperation.
The president hoped that the delegation would enlighten their followers about Pakistan’s Buddhist heritage and also encourage them to undertake religious tours to Pakistan.
The delegation deeply thanked the government of Pakistan for making excellent arrangements to facilitate its visit to Buddhist sites. They also appreciated the measures taken by Pakistan for the renovation and preservation of Buddhist heritage sites.