x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Sri Lankan and Pakistani group will develop ties

Organisers of the Overseas Pakistanis and Sri Lankans Society (OPSS) plan to hold talks with representatives from the governments of both nations to look at ways to develop the society.

DUBAI // A joint association has been formed to build on the good relations between Pakistan and Sri Lanka by bringing the communities in Dubai closer together.

Organisers of the Overseas Pakistanis and Sri Lankans Society (OPSS) plan to hold talks with representatives from the governments of both nations to look at ways to develop the society.

"The two countries have a unique relationship that dates back more than 50 years but it's one that not many people are aware of," said Mobisher Rabbani, one of the founders of the society and its first president.

"We'll be looking at doing cultural exchanges as well as developing business links and organising cricket matches. We want the society to be open to allow non-resident Sri Lankans and Pakistanis [to join] for free."

On an unofficial basis, the first project of the OPSS has been to send food to the Sri Lankan consulate in Dubai for the victims of the February floods in Sri Lanka, when more than 300,000 people were displaced.

"It is a wonderful idea to bring the two communities closer together," said Abdul Raheem, Sri Lanka's new consul general in Dubai. "We have growing numbers of Pakistani tourists visiting Sri Lanka and our trade and diplomatic relations have been long-standing and very positive."

nhanif@thenational.ae