Islamabad, Sep 25 (UNI) Pakistan has a great potential for religious and cultural tourism and can attract more tourists than India if it learns to tap its resources, Sri Lankan High Commissioner W B Dorakumbure said.
''Over 300,000 Buddhist pilgrims visit India every year and Pakistan can attract even more due to sites revered here by Buddhists,'' he said, adding that it could also attract numerous tourists interested in cultural icons.
While lauding the greenery of the city, Dr Dorakumbure, however, declared that Islamabad was 'too quiet' and everyday signs of life vanished after the sunset, Daily Times reported.
The High Commissioner praised the local cuisine, but complained about excessive use of oil in cooked food.
He said economic relations between Pakistan and Sri Lanka were growing fast due to the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) signed in 2005 and bilateral trade had crossed 200 million dollars. He also said most of the people were ignorant of the benefit of mutual trade and the two Governments should try to educate them.
Showing optimism regarding greater regional cooperation among SAARC nations, Dr Dorakumbure said a common strategy should be adopted to face problems. ''Terrorism was one such problem and most regional countries were afflicted with it and could cooperate to end terrorism,'' he said.
''Terrorism could be defeated completely by uprooting the reasons such as poverty and a sense of alienation.'' Talking about the issue of Tigers and the cause of conflict in Sri Lanka for the last over 25 years, Dr Dorakumbure noted that most of the western media 'consciously' misunderstood the issue and equated it with liberation or independent struggle.
''Tamils fighting the Government forces are terrorists. It is not an ethnic issue,'' he said. He also claimed that the Sri Lankan Government had held a number of rounds of talks with Tamils, but every time they backed out under various pretexts.