(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –Pakistan has offers to share intelligence with Sri Lanka to combat drug trafficking, terrorism and extremist activities.
Pakistan’s new High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Maj. Gen. (Retd.) Muhammad Saad Khattak expressed Pakistan’s willingness to continue to support strengthening intelligence between the two nations to assist Sri Lanka’s efforts to curb drug trafficking, terrorism and extremism related activities, the Defence Ministry said today.
“Since Sri Lanka and Pakistan are situated in strategically important locations in the Indian Ocean, enhancing close bilateral coordination and collaboration are vital to strengthen intelligence sharing to combat drug trafficking and extremism based activities”, High Commissioner Maj. Gen.Khattak said when he met Defence Secretary Maj. Gen. (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne at the Ministry.
He said Pakistan was grateful to Sri Lanka’s leadership as Sri Lanka was always prepared to assist his country when it was passing through difficult times.
“Bilateral relations between two countries run back to decades and both countries stood for each other during their difficult times,” he said commending Sri Lanka’s willingness to send its cricket team during Pakistan was threatened with terrorism.
He said Pakistan was very keen to share intelligence with Sri Lanka and extend technical capacities to strengthen Sri Lanka’s military capabilities.
High Commissioner Khattak, who had first visited Sri Lanka when he was in the Pakistani Army, referring to the last year’s Easter Sunday attack said based on past experiences, both countries could implement tangible intelligence sharing to support each other to face future security threats.
Defence Secretary Maj. Gen. Gunaratne explaining the steps taken under the leadership of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to strengthen intelligence agencies, including the military intelligence, said Pakistan could assist Sri Lanka extensively to fight against extremism that poses a grave threat to regional security as well.
“Pakistan is one of the countries that can support Sri Lanka to counter extremism through sharing vital intelligence,” he said emphasising that no single incident of terrorism had been reported since May 2009 after ending the three – decade long war against terrorism until the devastating Easter Sunday bomb attacks hit the nation.
“We had rehabilitated and reintegrated over 12,400 ex-LTTE cadres under a comprehensive rehabilitation program. Today, they are leading peaceful lives,” Maj. Gen. Gunaratne said adding that Sri Lanka’s rehabilitation process has been praised locally and internationally.
Highlighting extremism as an emerging threat the Defence Secretary discussed the necessity of enhancing military training facilities and avenues to share expertise and knowledge on security related research studies with Pakistan.