Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa puts Pak visit on hold

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa who was due to visit Pakistan later this month may delay his travel plans because of political unrest in Islamabad, officials said today.

PTI| Updated: Aug 19, 2014, 18:47 PM IST

Colombo: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa who was due to visit Pakistan later this month may delay his travel plans because of political unrest in Islamabad, officials said today.
The Sri Lankan government had not officially announced dates for the visit but developments in the Pakistani capital which is currently the scene of anti-government rallies made the authorities reassess the official visit.

In a meeting with Colombo-based foreign correspondents, Rajapaksa was asked about the Pakistan visit and he said, "We will have to wait and see".

However, he said he was keen to take up with Pakistani authorities the question of a large number of Pakistani nationals in Sri Lanka who had lodged asylum claims with the UNHCR refugee agency.

A Sri Lankan court last week suspended Colombo`s deportation of dozens of Pakistani nationals who have been staying in the country for long periods pending the processing of their applications.

Sri Lanka had stepped up deportation of Pakistanis following allegations that they were involved in terrorist acts against India.

However, Sri Lankan External Affairs Minister G L Peiris said today that Colombo had assured New Delhi that its soil will not be used for anti-India activities.