Pakistan Tie

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe (2nd R) arrives to visit the site of a bomb attack at St. Anthony's Shrine in Kochchikade in Colombo on April 21, 2019. - A string of blasts ripped through high-end hotels and churches holding Easter services in Sri Lanka on April 21, killing at least 156 people, including 35 foreigners. (Photo by ISHARA S. KODIKARA / AFP) (Photo credit should read ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)

Apr.03 (LBO) – Sri Lanka has asked the Pakistan government to start a Colombo-Karachi ferry service and liberalise air services during President Mahinda Rajapakse’s recent state visit to the neighboring country, a senior government minister said.

-Jayantha Kovilagodage: jayantha@vanguardlk.com 

“At the moment there are three flights a week to Pakistan from Sri Lanka, and two flights from Pakistan to Sri Lanka,” Aviation Minister Mangala Samaraweera told journalists on Tuesday.

“We have asked for daily flights to Karachi and main cities in the line of the open air services agreements we have with Singapore and Maldives.”

Minister Samaraweera said the request was favourably received and Pakistan had agreed that there was potential to increase tourism from Sri Lanka as a number of important places of Buddhist worship existed in that country.

Minister said there was a demand for a ferry service because of rapidly increasing trade between the two countries after a Free Trade Agreement was signed and Sri Lanka had asked to establish a ferry link to Karachi.

“The President of Pakistan promised us a quick decision on the matter,” Minister Samaraweera said.

“Such a link h