In a bid to boost cultural interaction between Korea and Pakistan and responding to Prime Minister of Pakistan’s initiative to promote religious tourism, particularly, Buddhist tourism in the country, over 60 members’delegation of Korean Buddhist pilgrims led by Ven. Wonhaeng, President of Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism visited Pakistan between 16th and 23rd November, 2019.
The delegation’s pilgrimage covered historical sites and heritage located in Lahore, Gilgit, Hunza, Islamabad, Taxila, Peshawar, Takht-i-Bahi in Mardan and Chota Lahore in Swabi District etc. They offered prayers at Buddhists sacred sites for international peace and interfaith harmony.
The delegation received an overwhelming welcome from federal and respective provincial governments. They called on President of Pakistan,H.E. Dr.ArifAlvi, Prime Minister of Pakistan,H.E. Mr. Imran Khan andForeign Minister, H.E. Mr.Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi. Governor of Punjab, Mr. Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar, hosted a lunch and Governor of KP, Mr. Shah Farman,hosteda dinner reception respectively for the Buddhists pilgrims.Mr. Muhammad Atif Khan, Senior Minister for Sports, Youth Affairs, Tourism Culture, Archaeology and Museum, KP hosted a lunch at his residence in Mardan, KP for the delegation.
Ambassador of the Republic of Korea, His Excellency Kwak Sung-kyu hosted dinner at Marriott Hotel, Islamabad on 23rd November to wrap up the delegation’s pilgrimage. Ambassador Kwak, showed his satisfaction over the existing warm cultural ties between the two friendly countries and highlighted the importance of common heritage of Buddhism for further cementing cultural and religious ties between Korea and Pakistan.
While appreciating this large Buddhists pilgrimage to Pakistan despite of security concerns, described the touras “big important step toward enhancing cultural relations between two friendly countries”
Ven. Wonhaeng, President of Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism, praised the hospitality extended to them by the government and people of Pakistan. He labelled Pakistan as home of ancient Buddhists heritage and tourist-friendly country.
And he also promised to deliver a good word back home about that. He underlined the need to improve the allied infrastructure and facilities at the heritage sites and to properly publicize Pakistan’s rich cultural and historical treasures to the world.
In this regard, the Korean Buddhists delegation is willing to make contributions, with that Pakistan can become a priority tourism destination for Buddhists monks.–