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Sri Lanka scraps Premier Imran Khan's address to Parliament

Sri Lanka on Wednesday cancelled Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's address to its Parliament during his official visit to the island nation.

A Sri Lankan newspaper said that the move may also have been an effort to ensure Imran Khan isn't granted parity with Prime Minister Narendra Modi who had addressed the country's Parliament in 2015.

Khan, who will be the first head of state to visit the country since the Covid-19 pandemic, is scheduled to arrive in Colombo on February 23.

 He will hold talks with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena during the visit.

 Last week, he welcomed Sri Lanka’s assurance on the burial of Muslim Coronavirus victims.

 Khan tweeted welcoming Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s assurance given in Parliament that Muslims will be allowed to bury those who died from the Coronavirus.

Despite the pledge, the government has continued to forcibly cremate Muslims and is backtracking by claiming the policy can only be changed following deliberations by an expert committee.

Cabinet Co-Spokesman and Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila told reporters that Premier Mahinda Rajapaksa had only stated his personal view in Parliament last week and any policy decision could only be made by the Director General of Health Services (DGHS).

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