Sri Lanka cancels Imran Khan's speech in Parliament
Imran Khan is scheduled to meet Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.
February 23, 2021 / 09:14 AM IST
In a bid to avoid straining ties with India, Sri Lanka has cancelled Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's speech to Lankan Parliament.
The government does not want to risk its relations with India when it is getting stuck in the Chinese debt-trap and India is being a saviour by providing COVID-19 vaccines, ANI reported, citing Colombo Gazette's report titled 'Sri Lanka avoids clash with India by cancelling Khan's Parliament speech'.
India recently gifted 5 lakh doses of Covishield vaccines to Sri Lanka after Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made a commitment to his counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa during a virtual summit in September 2020.
The Sri Lankan government was also concerned about Khan raising concerns about the rights of Muslims in Sri Lanka. Colombo had made its compulsory cremation rule for those dying from COVID-19 applicable to Muslims in the country.
The government, however, later exempted the Muslims from cremation and allowed them to bury their dead after a global outcry over the issue.
Khan had welcomed the Sri Lankan government's decision. "We welcome Sri Lankan PM Mahinda Rajapaksa's assurance given in Sri Lankan Parliament today, allowing Muslims to bury those who died from Covid-19," he had tweeted.
Khan is scheduled to travel to Colombo on a two-day trip from February 22. He is scheduled to meet Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and attend an investors' conference.