ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: President of Mahabodhi Society of Sri Lanka, Ven. Banagala Upatissa Thero,along with a delegation called on Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs (SAPM), Syed Tariq Fatemi here on Tuesday, reports state run news agency APP.
The Special Assistant to the Prime Minister welcomed the delegation to Pakistan and commended the important work being carried out by the Mahabodhi Society in areas, such as education and promotion of interfaith harmony.
The SAPM highlighted that Pakistan was proud to be a cradle of the Buddhist civilization and custodian of Buddhist historical sites at Taxila, Takht Bai, and Swat, which were an integral part of its rich cultural heritage.
He stressed that the Government of Pakistan would continue to take all possible steps to facilitate the Buddhist pilgrims visiting holy sites in Pakistan.
He underlined that the security situation and physical infrastructure in Pakistan had improved significantly in the recent months and hoped that the religious pilgrims and tourists would continue to find Pakistan a safe and attractive destination.
The President of the Mahabodhi Society appreciated the efforts of the Government of Pakistan for the preservation of Buddhist historical sites in Pakistan, as well as for the cooperation being extended to the visiting Buddhist pilgrims.
Pakistan is very important destination for those who are interested in Buddhist historical sites. There had been a huge inflow of Sri Lankan tourists to Pakistan in past before terrorism won over by tourism. Since situation is getting better in Pakistan, government is again trying to attract tourists. However, Buddhist historical sites are mostly in KPK province where law and order situation is yet to be improved and province is still under the control of radical mindset. Radical Muslims do not allow tourism and interfaith harmony and believe that offering friendship, food or sitting with non-Muslims is against the religion.