A.c. Shahul ahmeed
Colombo—Former External Affairs Minister and Joint Opposition spokesman Professor G.L.Peiris urged President Maitripala Sirisena to intervene and block Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe’s unilateral decision to sign the controversial Economic Technological Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) with India by the end of this year. He asked the President to hold a referendum on the issue. At a media briefing at the Dr.N.M.Perera Centre in Colombo Prof.Peiris said that according to Article 86 of the Constitution the President could submit to the people at a referendum any matter which was of nationalimportance. The former Constitutional Affairs Minister Prof.G.LPeiris stressed that the proposed pact was a matter of national importance as it would directly affect the SriLankan job market as well as the economy and once signed between the governments of India and Sri Lanka it could not be changed in the future under any circumstances even after a change of government.
Professor Peiris noted that it was the responsibility of Prsident Sirisena to intervene to halt the signing of ETCA by the Premier unilaterallyn and to submit it to the people at a referendum before it was signed within the next two months. Meanwhile a committee chaired by the Ministerof Law and Order Sagala Ratnayake has been apointe d to draft a new counter terrorism law to replace the existing Prevention of Terrorism Act.