Archive for November 2009
Retired Gen. Sarath Fonseka, at a media briefing in Colombo today (Nov. 29), formally announced that he would run for president at elections early next year under the ‘Swan’ symbol. Presenting his policies before a packed audience of journalists, Gen. Fonseka said he would differentiate between the good and the bad just like “a swan separates milk from the water.”
The former Army commander, who retired as chief of defence staff last month ago said he would contest the January 26 polls under a newly registered political party.
He said he would keep the promises he was giving today, as he did while leading the Army to defeat the LTTE. Gen. Fonseka reiterated that he would seek a mandate to abolish the executive presidency within six months, establish the constitutional council, implement the 17th amendment and ensure good governance.
“I will win,” he said confidently, adding that he was coming forward to save the country from dictatorship.Speaking further, he acknowledged the political leadership played a key role in the victory against terrorism.
Rejecting claims his son-in-law was involved in underhand dealings in military procurements, Gen. Fonseka said he was not against a war crimes investigation, adding that the charges should be backed by evidence.
The UNP decided to sack Azad Sally from the Executive Committee membership while Party Chairman Gamini Jayawickrema Perera was appointed as the Kurunegala district Organizer.
Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has sent a letter to Azad sally stating that his services as a member of the UNP Executive Committee is not needed.
Although proposals can be made to the Executive Committee , the members shall adhere to the final decisions arrived at by the membership of the Committee. The letter had further pointed out that no pardon can be granted to Azad Sally who had trespassed on the Committee rules criticizing the Executive Committee over the television channels.
Meanwhile , in another letter , the Opposition leader has appointed Party Chairman Gamini Jayawickrema Perera as Kurunegala District Organizer because Johnston Fernando had made a request to relieve him of those responsibilities.
The spirit of unity, symbolized by Hajj should prevail throughout their lives and shared with the faithful of other religions in the larger interest of brotherhood of man, said President Mahinda Rajapaksa in a Hajj message. Following is the Hajj message of President Mahinda Rajapaksa I am pleased to send this message of greetings on the occasion of the celebration of Eid-ul-Alha, the festival of Hajj by the world Islamic community, including that of Sri Lanka.
This festival which culminates in the Hajj pilgrimage, the embodiment of sacrifice, is the greatest annual event of the Islamic world, with nearly four million Muslims from the world over including around 5,000 from Sri Lanka, gather at the Holy City of Mecca to perform Hajj. Hajj also symbolises the spirit of unity when millions of pilgrims speaking different languages and belonging to different nationalities and cultures proclaim the same mission – divinity, unity and greatness of God.
This spirit of unity should prevail throughout their lives and shared with the faithful of other religions in the larger interest of brotherhood of man. The Muslims of Sri Lanka have made significant contributions to the progress of our country and for the happiness of all our people. Throughout history they have lived in harmony with the other communities in our country, and continue to do so.
With the end to three decades of terrorism, the Muslims of the North and East are now able to live without fear with new opportunities for progress. Due to speedy resettlements in the North, the Muslims there are able to return to their homes to renew life in peace and harmony. The prayers of all Muslims of this day of special religious observances will no doubt be directed towards peace, with dignity for all.
I wish all our Muslims a happy and peaceful Eid Mubarak.
Muslim devotees the world over flock to Mecca, Saudi Arabia every year to perform the Hajj pilgrimage. They have no differences as to their educational and financial background. They flock to perform Hajj. What we need today is also co-operation and co-existence among communities. We suffered greatly for many years due to the disruption of such co-operation and co-existence.
Terrorism raised its head in Sri Lanka because the germ of suspicious had replaced peace, happiness and tranquillity resultantly. The country lost many useful youthful lives. We have now been able to reverse the tide and foster peace in the country.
The greatest challenge before us today is to strengthen the economy of this country devastated by war. The time has now come for us to overcome this challenge by joining hands in unity, leaving aside all differences.
At this moment when Muslims the world over are celebrating Hajj I call upon all Sri Lankan Muslims to join the effort to rebuild our Motherland.
I extend my sincere greetings to Muslim devotees celebrating the first Hajj festival in a reunited and peaceful Sri Lanka after ending terrorism and their Muslim compatriots celebrating this occasion the world over.
I am still saddened to note that nearly 20 years from the day that they were evicted from their homes, many Muslims are still languishing in Internally Displaced Camps
It is my great pleasure to warmly convey my best wishes to all Muslims celebrating Hajj this year – a celebration of great importance in the Islamic world. The ritual of Hajj is celebrated to commemorate the Abrahamic roots and the sacrifices made by Prophet Ibrahim nearly five thousand years ago. The Hajj Pilgrimage epitomises peace, brotherhood and equality among the masses and serves as an example to all peoples of the world.
This year’s Hajj Festival has special significance for all, as it will be the first Hajj Festival celebrated as free Sri Lankan’s after the scourge of terrorism has been removed from our island. I remember a time when devout Hajj Pilgrims in the East were brutally murdered by the eastern terrorist forces. I am especially happy that this year our Muslim brothers in the North and the East will celebrate this most religious festival without any danger or trepidation, due to the actions of our heroic armed forces. We must capitalise on the window of peace that is now available for us so that we can build a lasting peace.
I am still saddened to note that nearly 20 years from the day that they were evicted from their homes, many Muslims are still languishing in Internally Displaced Camps (IDP) in the North and East. I believe that by the next Hajj celebrations all those who are currently displaced would celebrate their faith in a place where they can call home in safety and in peace. I promise to work tirelessly to this end.
I believe that the Muslim faith will play an integral role in healing the wounds of the past and brining together all communities in Sri Lanka.I hope that by the will of Allah the All Mighty the hopes of all Muslim devotees will materialise.
I wish a happy and safe Id-Ul-Adha Festival to all Muslims in Sri Lanka and around the world.