Islamabad (Adnan Hameed): In a remarkable act of generosity and friendship, Sri Lanka has resumed its eye cornea donations to Pakistan, marking a new chapter in the longstanding relationship between the two nations. Today, five eye corneas donated by Sri Lankan donors arrived in Lahore aboard a Sri Lankan Airlines flight. These invaluable gifts were received by Pakistan Military Medical personnel and will soon be transferred to the Pakistan Army Hospital in Rawalpindi.

Sri Lanka boasts a rich history of eye donations, having donated more than 88,000 eye corneas worldwide through the Eye Donation Society of Sri Lanka, established in 1964 by the late Deshamannya Dr. Hudson Silva. Of these, over 36,000 corneas have been donated to Pakistan. This noble initiative, however, came to a halt two and a half years ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a subsequent shortage of the fluid required for the safe transfer of eye corneas.

The arrival of these corneas signifies the restart of this humanitarian project, rekindling people-to-people contacts between these two brotherly nations that have stood by each other through challenging times. The corneas will be implanted by Pakistan Military Eye Surgeons, bringing the gift of sight to patients in need. Currently, more than 300 patients in hospitals around Lahore are awaiting these vital transplants.

The successful coordination for the resumption of these donations was led by Mr. Idris Admani, President of the Pakistan-Sri Lanka Friendship Association. Mr. Admani, who visited Pakistan last month with a Buddhist delegation for the Wesak Festival and the Gandhara Buddhist Conference sponsored by Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, played a pivotal role. He generously provided personal funds and raised additional support from well-wishers to cover the costs of transferring the eye corneas from Colombo to Lahore.

In a world often overshadowed by death, destruction, and sadness, this act of kindness during the Poson week—a time commemorating the spread of Gautama Buddha’s teachings in ancient Sri Lanka—shines as a beacon of ultimate compassion. The selflessness of the deceased donors of these five eye corneas sets a profound example for the world.

The Military Eye Hospital in Rawalpindi, which will utilize these corneas, holds a special place of gratitude for Major General (R) Burki, former Pakistan High Commissioner to Colombo, for his contributions to fostering this enduring partnership.

High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to Pakistan, Ravindra Chandrasiri Wijegunaratne, praised the effort, stating, “It is ‘God’s Will’ that these eye corneas will be transplanted to needy patients today—the day 2,500 years ago when Great Emperor Ashoka’s son, Arahat Mahinda, reached Sri Lanka with Lord Gautama Buddha’s teachings and converted our King and people to Buddhism! The ultimate aim of these Buddhist deceased Sri Lankan eye donors was to reach ‘Nirwana’ with this offering of body parts to needy persons (DANA), and this goal is going to be fulfilled. This is the greatest people-to-people contact.”

The resumption of eye cornea donations not only restores vision to many but also strengthens the bonds of friendship and mutual support between Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

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