LAHORE - A three-day Pakistan Food, Culture and Shopping Festival kicked off in Colombo, Sri Lanka yesterday.

The event was jointly inaugurated by Sri Lankan Health Minister Dr Rajitha Sena Rethna and Pakistani High Commissioner in Sri Lanka Maj Gen (r) Syed Shakeel Hussain at Waters Edge Hotel, in Sri Lankan capital city.

The festival, first of its kind in this vibrant city of the island, has been arranged by the Punjab government in collaboration with LCCI, Punjab Board of Investment and Trade, Lahore Art Council, Tourism Department, and Pakistan High Commission in Sri Lanka. The mega event is designed in a way that it would be remembered for a long time to come. Pakistan cuisine is also a specialty of the event, as Colombo has a big majority of eastern food lovers and Pakistani food stuff and its taste is not new to their taste buds. Pakistani instrumentalists are keeping the visitors spell bound and the visitors are seen enjoying every moment.

Famous Pakistani brands including Stylo Shoes, Masood Textiles, leading manufacturers of hand-knotted carpets, blue pottery manufacturers and metal and stone carving work are of great attraction. Sri Lankans interest in Pakistani shoe brand is so great that some of the goods were sold even much ahead of the formal inauguration of the event. Painting and photography exhibition is also a component of this business and cultural festival. The work of renowned Pakistani painters and photographers including Saeed Akhtar, Ejazul Hassan, Ejaz Anwar, Zulfiqar Zulfi, Maria Khan, Ammara Khan, and miniature artists including Bashir Ahmad, Imran Qureshi and Ayesha Khalid has been put on display.

Also, the calligraphy work of Ahmad Khan snf Imran Sultan is a feast for the eyes of the Lankan art-lovers.

Tabla, violin, sitar, sarangi, dhol and flute artists including Ustad Raees. Ustad Latif, Noshad, Sajjad Hussain, and Zohaib Hassan have specially flown to highlight the soft image of the country.

Dr Rajitha Sena Rethna, while talking to the media on the occasion, said that such fairs and exhibitions are a proven tool to promote bilateral trade and economic relations between the two countries. The Lankan minister said large participation of Sri Lankans in Pakistani event is enough to make the point that the people here are great lover of Pakistani merchandise. He added the Sri Lankan government puts Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif in high esteem and the ongoing mega event is an ample proof of his inclination towards excellent trade and economic ties between Pakistan and Sri Lanka.