Is Pakistan fortifying anti-India alliance through sending ancient relics to Sri Lanka?

via published on June 10, 2011

A new gesture from Pakistan indeed! And this is said not without reason.  Pakistan or the country infested with multifarious terrorist movements and also being regarded as cradle of worldwide Islamic terrorism has sent the most sanctified relics of Lord Buddha to Sri Lanka. As per Pakistan government’s versions, this is just a bid to present the richest Buddhist historical bequest to the people of Sri Lanka.

Relics arrived in Sri Lanka of late for a certain period and will be exhibited at Colombo Museum in the existing month. It has also been learnt that following the finale of the exhibition, relics will be taken back to Pakistan. The consecrated relics was received at the airport by Speaker to Sri Lanka Chamal Rajapaksa in conjunction with High Commissioner of Pakistan, Seema Ilahi Baloch, and an assortment of other officials. Dr Paul Bhatti, Adviser to the Prime Minister of Pakistan on Minorities Affairs and a high-level team of the Pakistan’s Archaeology Department brought these relics to Sri Lanka.

There is no doubt that these relics form important part of the archaeological heritage of Pakistan and also represent the rich Buddhist history in the country. Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of Sri Lanka, introduced holy relics at Maligakanda Temple in Colombo for the public exposition.

It has also come to the knowledge that the exhibition in Colombo will put these high quality cultural assets from the Gandhara region of Pakistan including four sacred artifacts on show. The artifacts contain the collection of museums in both Peshawar and Taxila in Pakistan. There is also the presence of sacred tooth relics of Lord Buddha, Kanishka Relic Casket from Shah-Ji-Ki-Dheri, stone reliquary in stupa shape and Golden Casket.

But there are some other questions as well. Without doubt, if we look at the history, Buddhism has left a colossal and affluent legacy of art and architecture in modern-day Pakistan. Centuries have passed but Gandhara region continues to preserve its rich legacy for all. However, this was not noticeable for the rulers of Pakistan from its inception. On the contrary, Islamic hardliners were more interested to crush these artifacts, known as un-Islamic for them. Pakistani ruling class preferred to remain silent on these.

What is the main factor behind this abrupt bonhomie? Political analysts term this as a desperate act for Pakistan, feeling lonely in the global arena increasingly, especially after recent Osama episode. Sri Lanka, therefore, is one of its last hopes. Perhaps, through sending relics Pakistan is trying to fortify its desire for regional dominance and bid to encircle India.

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