As in previous years, the Pakistan High Commission organized the Jinnah Scholarship ceremony at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH), to award scholarships to bright and deserving A-Level students of Sri Lanka.
These scholarships have been awarded by the Government of Pakistan to Sri Lankan students of A Level since 2006. So far, more than 2400 Sri Lankan students have benefitted from this program, named after Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the revered founding father of Pakistan.
Vidura Wickramanayaka, Minister for Buddhasasana, Religious & Cultural Affairs, Sri Lanka graced the occasion as Chief Guest.
In his speech the Chief Guest highly appreciated the gracious gesture from the people and Government of Pakistan. He added that such efforts will be very fruitful in strengthening bilateral relations between the two friendly countries. He further said that the youth are our future and through such scholarship programs, we strengthen future generations.
In his remarks, High Commissioner Major General (Retd) Umar Farooq Burki thanked the honorable Chief Guest for gracing the occasion. He emphasized upon the importance of the relationship that both the countries enjoy and the fact that Pakistan aims at strengthening these strong ties manifold. He added that the Jinnah Scholarship is a testament to the strong bond between Pakistan and Sri Lanka, and reflects the commitment to enhancing the capabilities of youth with better educational opportunities.
The High Commissioner informed the audience that the Government of Pakistan has been awarding the Jinnah Scholarship for bright Sri Lankan students since 2006. Students who qualified for this prestigious scholarship came from all provinces of the island.
The ratio of Sinhalese, Tamil (67) and Muslim (74) students was also almost equal. It was very encouraging to see that the number of female students (87) was almost double as compared to that of the male students (44).
Moreover, Government of Pakistan takes pride in producing hundreds of doctors, engineers and other professionals in various faculties through separate fully funded scholarship programs.
During the Jinnah scholarship awarding ceremony, certificates were awarded by Vedura Wickramanayaka, Minister of Buddhasasana, Religious & Cultural Affairs, Governor of Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe, the High Commissioner of Pakistan to Sri Lanka and Deputy High Commissioner.
Professors representing Universities, Ambassadors, political personalities and friends of Pakistan were also present at the occasion.