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Pakistani PM Meets Buddhist Leaders to Promote Interfaith Harmony and Cultural Preservation

May 31, Colombo (LNW): A delegation of Buddhist leaders met with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in Islamabad during their visit to attend a symposium and exhibition titled ‘From Gandhara to the World,’ organized by Pakistan’s Foreign Affairs Ministry. The delegation included Buddhasasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs Minister Vidura Wikramanayake, Most Ven. Thich Duc Tuan Thera from Vietnam, Most Ven. Anil Sakya Thera from Thailand, and Dr. Keshabman Shakya from Nepal.

Prime Minister Sharif expressed gratitude for their participation in the symposium, held in connection with Vesak Day, which commemorates the birth, enlightenment, and passing away of the Buddha. He highlighted Pakistan’s pride in its ancient Buddhist heritage, particularly the Gandhara art and culture that flourished in Northwest Pakistan over two thousand years ago. Sharif emphasized his government’s commitment to interfaith harmony and acknowledged the significant contributions of Buddhist scholars and monks to promoting understanding and harmony among different faiths.

The Buddhist leaders appreciated the Prime Minister’s dedication to fostering a culture of inclusivity and respect for all religions. They commended Pakistan’s efforts to preserve and promote its Buddhist heritage sites and cultural artifacts and expressed a keen interest in collaborating with Pakistan on these preservation efforts.

During the meeting, they discussed ways to strengthen interfaith dialogue and cooperation, as well as opportunities for cultural and academic exchanges between Pakistan and Buddhist-majority countries. The meeting concluded with a commitment to continue exploring avenues for mutual understanding and cooperation, and to work together towards a more harmonious and peaceful world. They also discussed the possibility of establishing a joint forum for dialogue and collaboration.

The meeting was attended by Pakistan’s Religious Affairs Minister Salik Hussain, Information and Broadcasting and Cultural Heritage Minister Ataullah Tarar, and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Syed Tariq Fatemi.

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