The investiture ceremony, marking Pakistan Day on 23 March 2014, was held at the Aiwan-i-Sadr Islamabad, and was attended by Chairman Senate, Speaker National Assembly, Federal Ministers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, Services Chiefs, Ambassadors and other notables.
The Sitara-i-Pakistan is awarded to General Weerasooriya in recognition of his efforts for strengthening relations between Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
The citation read out at the investiture ceremony, inter alia states, that “during [General Weerasooriya’s] ambassadorial assignment, he played a key role in strengthening and deepening Pakistan-Sri Lanka friendly cooperative ties, including the signing of a Free Trade Agreement between the two countries.” Significantly, this was the first Free Trade Agreement ever entered into by Pakistan.
As per the aforementioned citation, the Sitara-i-Pakistan award was conferred on General Weerasooriiya “in recognition of his true friendship with Pakistan, his outstanding and meritorious services in deepening Pakistan-Sri Lanka friendship and cooperative ties…”
The association of Gen Weerasooriya with Pakistan began in 1963 when he was enrolled as a Gentleman Cadet at the Pakistan Military Academy, and it continue to date, with the effect of fostering strong commercial and diplomatic ties between the two nations.
The Pakistan Civil Awards were established on March 19, 1957, following the proclamation of Pakistan as an Islamic Republic on March 23, 1956. The announcement of civil awards is generally made once a year on Independence Day (August 14) and their investiture takes place on the following Pakistan Day (on 23 March). In accordance with Article 259 (2) of the Constitution of Pakistan 1973, read alongside the Decorations Act 1975, the President of Pakistan confers civil awards on Pakistani citizens in recognition of gallantry, and on non-Pakistanis for eminence and outstanding services to Pakistan in significant fields. Awards to non-Pakistanis are proposed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and are approved by the President of Pakistan.