ISLAMABAD, Mar 14 (APP): A three-day meeting of the special committee on creation of Asian Parliament and Asian Parliamentary Assembly (APA) Standing Committee on political commenced here on Tuesday with speakers at the inaugural session underling the need to work together for confronting shared challenges.
Being hosted by Senate of Pakistan, the meeting was jointly inaugurated by Chairman Senate Mian Raza Rabbani and Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq.
Over 70 delegations from twenty-two Asian countries, including members of parliaments and speakers are attending the meeting.
Speaking at the inaugural session, Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq said it was the collective responsibility of Asian countries to work towards comprehensive and integrated socio-economic progress of the entire region through dialogue, understanding and consensus.
“We must work together for confronting our shared challenges by combating violent terrorism and extremism, poverty alleviation, reducing impacts of climate change and ensuring human rights and global economic development,” he said.
He said the role of Asian Parliamentary Assembly (APA) was crucial in promoting unity and providing a concrete framework for regional cooperation to strengthen human rights protection and democracy. It was imperative for the APA; he said to strive for strengthening parliamentary ties among members, which could eventually lead to inter-state trade and economic cooperation.
He said Asian region was rich in socio-economic, cultural, geographical, and developmental aspects.
“Forward looking trade policy, improved supply chains and production networks have transformed Asia during the recent decades. However, major
impediments exist including violent extremism, transnational terrorism and regional conflicts.
“Not just that, flashpoints like Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Jammu and Kashmir and Afghanistan are a continuous threat to regional peace and harmony,” he added.
He said Asia today was the most disturbed region in the world.
“From the middle-east crises to the rise of Daesh, and the animosities of south-east Asia, there are challenges before us. But let us not forget that the democracies don’t fight with each other.”
He asked the APA member states to intervene for the peaceful resolution of all outstanding disputes in light of the UN Security Council resolutions and in accordance with the aspirations of the people.
He pointed out that Pakistan’s efforts in the war against terrorism and stated that the its Pakistan, backed by the Parliament, launched consensus-based military operation “Zarb-e-Azb”, which had been remarkably successful in the campaign against terrorism and extremism.
Ayaz Sadiq expressed the hope that the member parliaments would ensure their effective participation at regional and international fora with a view to promote transnational collaboration in the resolution of international disputes.
Speaking on the occasion, Chairman Senate Mian Raza Rabbani said that people in the Asian region were looking towards their parliamentarians with hope for the resolution of their problems.
He said in such an atmosphere when people in the Asian region were confronting several challenges, the parliamentarians of Asian countries should learn to move forward.
Asia has a rich cultural history. It is one of the oldest civilizations. But unfortunately right from the beginning people have been suffering here and they still continue to suffer, he said.
He expressed the hope that the special committee on creation of Asian Parliament would make a positive beginning towards the cherished objective.
“It will be unrealistic to expect a blueprint of the Asian Parliament at the conclusion of the session. But at least we should move towards narrowing our differences”, he added.
He expressed the confidence that given the atmosphere of congeniality during the APA meeting, the parliamentarians of participating nations would be able to produce documents of meaning and substance.
He said Asian nations had several common challenges and aspirations and they could work jointly to address and realize them. We should learn to bury the hatchet and move forward for the collective good of our people, he remarked.
Raza Rabbani said it was true that nations had their own bilateral issues and conflicting interests. But we represent people who are suffering from issues like poverty, terrorism, under-nourishment and exploitation of their natural resources. It is opportune time for us to take steps to resolve these issues. Our parliaments would fail themselves if they fail to rise to the occasion, he added.
He said Asian countries should work together and promote working relationship for a fruitful prosperity and sustainable development in the region.
Representative of APA President CHHIT Kim Yeat on the occasion said that political stability in the Asian region was an indispensable element in promoting peace and security for the sustainable development and economic growth. He said the APA was a collective asset for exchange of views and experiences as it provided opportunities to parliamentarians of Asian region to play their role and express common concern for the people of Asia.
“There are challenges we all need to resolve together to ensure our people reap benefits and live in peace, prosperity and without any fear,” he stated.
He expressed the confidence that in the meeting, the APA members would form a principle policy for resolving internal and external conflicts. “I hope our crucial meeting will also bring more interest and significance to realize our common aspirations in creation of Asian Parliament in future,” he added.
Deputy Speaker General APA, Dr Ali Khorram stated that in the light of the challenges in the post-global order and its implications for Asia, parliaments were becoming increasingly more important both in domestic and foreign affairs.
“Asia in globalised world is facing diverse political, economic, social and cultural challenges, especially the extremism. In order to address these challenges we should put emphasis on our affirmative identity rather than excluding or blaming others,” he added.
Speaker of the National Assembly of Bhutan Lyonpo Jigme Zengpo said that it was opportune time to create Asian Parliament. Asian Courtiers need unity and prosperity and creation of Asian Parliament can help a lot to achieve these, he said.
He said Pakistan’s role for creating unity among Asian countries was commendable. We should work together and promote working relationship for a fruitful prosperity and sustainable development in the region, he added.
Speaker of the People’s Assembly of Syrian Parliament, Dr. Hadiyeh Abbas said that the world, including Syria was facing the evil of terrorism.
She underlined the need to make concerted efforts to root out twin evils of extremism and terrorism.
She said development and prosperity could only be attained by ensuring unity and real cooperation through parliaments.