ISLAMABAD, Dec 24 (APP):Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq here on Sunday said Pakistan had suffered a loss of over 119 billion dollars to its economy since 9/11 due to cowardly acts of terrorism.
Addressing the three-day Speakers International Conference here at a local hotel he said, “The colossal damage to global economy can be gauged from the fact that since 9/11, Pakistan, alone, has suffered a loss of over 119 billion US dollars to its economy because of such cowardly attacks.”
He said that the problem had been aggravated further by the corresponding rise in the illicit drug trade, which had largely remained unchecked and throbbed as the major source of terror financing.
“Why has the global coalition against terrorism consistently failed to control and destroy the booming poppy cultivation? The increased production facilities and the expanding drug trade is a question that many fail to answer” he said.
Ayaz Sadiq termed the gathering of six countries speakers in Islamabad as a historic occasion and noted that the parliamentary heads of these nations had arrived here for the first time to reaffirm their commitment to shared peace and prosperity and forge new grounds of mutual cooperation.
“It is a defining moment when we, the chosen representatives, take a giant step to meet the aspirations of our people to live side by side in respect, trust and friendship”, he added.
“It is a new turning in the dictum’s of multilateralism when parliamentary diplomacy leads the executive towards a new regional alliance for collectively addressing the common challenges,” he added.
He said the representatives of the six countries has assembled here, represented a quarter of the total humanity on this planet and 3 percent total force.
“Three countries among us, namely China, Russian Federation and Iran, rank among the top six nations with the largest deposits of natural resources in the world”, he observed.
The speaker said that China and Pakistan alone provide half of the world’s cotton adding, “The untapped resources of Afghanistan could make it the richest mining region on Earth while its mastery in infrastructural construction industry has brought Turkey to the top rankings in the world.”
Ayaz Sadiq said that the post cold-war world had proved to be more dangerous and insecure than the bipolar era.
On one side, the rise of unipolarism has given way to unilateralism and global hegemony, while on the other, the ideals of respect for international borders and nations’ sovereignty are in danger with the introduction of the phenomenon of non-state actors, he added.
He said that the seemingly unending spate of terrorist attacks during the last ten years has rocked every corner of the world, claiming over two hundred thousand lives.
“Almost half of these unfortunate victims were from our region”, he added.
Ayaz said, “Most of our respective countries have faced the maximum brunt either through the Al-Qaida, the Taliban, the East Turkistan Islamic Movement and now the eminent threat of the DAAISH.”
He said that innocent men, women and children across continents have been displaced and forced to leave their lands. Of the five top countries in the world, hosting largest number of refugees, three are represented here; namely Turkey, Pakistan and Iran.
He said, “Although, religious fanaticism has been often cited as the main cause of global terrorism, let us not forget that that rise of the Populist Right and the sanctioning of oppression have also added fuel to the mayhem.”
“From the burning fields of the Middle East to the denial of fundamental right of self-determination in Kashmir, the world has failed to address the root-causes of extremism” he added.
He said, “The recent controversy, created around the status of the Holy city of Jerusalem is not only a move to violate the International Law and the related UN resolutions but also a deliberate attempt to undermine the peace efforts. It is a move to divide the people of the world further and fan religious animosity.”
Ayaz said, “The 18th December’s fateful vote in the Security Council, where 14 countries could not convince one country to show respect to the plight of the Palestinian people further reminds us that the world needs a more just and equitable order, based on respect for principles and ethics.”
These are the very challenges, which pose a direct threat to our respective nations; in fact the very existence of our countries,our mosques, temples and churches, our schools and places of work and our homes are under attack, he maintained.
“In our respective capacities as parliamentarians, we are trained to iron out differences and create accords out of discords,” he added.
He said this was also the beauty of parliamentary diplomacy through which the real representatives of the people could negotiate peaceful settlements of all outstanding disputes, this should be the spirit of this Conference as well.
He said that the overall mutual trade volume of six countries gathered here was just 366 billion dollars for the year 2016, which was merely 2 percent of the entire global trade volume.
He said despite sharing common borders, the intra-regional connectivity had remained at the lowest and added, “We do not have reliable railway links while our respective airlines also do not fly frequently to each other. As a result, the tourism among our six countries does not paint an exciting picture.”
He said despite cherish cultural similarity, the people-to-people connectivity was also hindered because of the language barriers. “There has been a little effort on respective state levels to promote regional language learning through our respective academic institutions.”
“We must turn it around. I am fully aware that the dark clouds of terrorism in the region hinder our path. But let us not forget that there are silver linings as well. By sharing our experiences on platforms like this conference, we can collectively offer most viable solutions to contemporary problems,” he added.
Underlining the need to condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, he said Pakistan had repeatedly called for negotiated settlements of all disputes, which plagued humanity and advocated home grown solutions to the regional problems.”
The speaker proposed that the forum should be given permanent footings and the conference should become an annual feature. The National Assembly of Pakistan, he said, would be pleased to act as its Secretariat till a permanent secretariat and rules of the forum were jointly agreed.
He also proposed that the committees concerned on security, commerce and trade in the respective parliaments should meet periodically to ensure a regular follow-up of deliberations and continue to provide parliamentary wisdom to the executives in their respective countries.
“Our forum must patronize the academia and the think-tanks of our respective countries to jointly focus on our issues and bring our people closer. On the part of my parliament, the Pakistan Institute of Parliamentary Services will be readily available for such interaction” he added.