PR No. 159 Islamabad

Chairman Senate Mian Raza Rabbani, in his opening remarks at meeting of Standing Committee on economic and sustainable development Affairs of Asian Parliamentary Assembly in Islamabad on Tuesday observed that the future of Asia lies in the hands of Asian people. The criticism by West that Asian integration is not possible due to cultural, religious and social diversity is not true as we believe that the strength of Asia is its diversity and with diversity comes the unity.  Chairman Senate expressed these views at 2 -day meeting of Standing Committee on economic and sustainable development Affairs of Asian Parliamentary Assembly begins here at Islamabad. The meeting is being hosted by the Senate of Pakistan.

Mian Raza Rabbani lamented the double standards adopted by U.S and western powers and said that the contemporary upheaval and turmoil in Middle East is due to the Western policy of regime change. He said that being a Pakistani he witnessed the Western double standards when they politically and economically supported the dictatorial regimes in Pakistan and maintained silence over the unlawful prosecution of political workers.

He regretted the silence of torch bearers of HR i.e. West over the blatant violation of Human Rights in Palestine and Indian occupied Kashmir. He admitted that there are issues that need to be resolved in order to achieve equitable development and peace in the region. Raza Rabbani said that it is imperative for us to look at things in the right dimension.  He urged the member countries to move forward for achieving the goal of Asian Parliament that is “Asian Integration.”

He proposed establishment of 7-8 regional groups of the Asian countries to chalk out the modalities achieved the objectives of Asian parliament.  These group then shall share their reports on the upcoming plenary session of the Asian Parliamentary Assembly.

Secretary Senate Amjad Pervaiz Malik threw light on the brief chronology of over a decade long Pakistan-APA association. He said that while the Asian progress on economic, scientific and technological fronts is inspiring and reassuring, it also a reality of our times that promising developments are constantly being offset by wide-ranging disparities, inconsistencies and challenges in various areas. There is a dire need to evolve an Asian narrative specifically tailored to take into account both the positives and negatives of Asian continent, and resolve complexities of wide ranging multi-stratum integration on the basis of mutual respect and consensus, he added.

Dr. Ali Khorram Deputy to APA Secretary-General appreciated Senate of Pakistan for hosting the APA Standing Committee Meeting on Economic and Sustainable Development. He highlighted the five main issues in front of APA to resolve i.e. How to develop energy integration system in Asia, the environmental impact of energy consumption now and when Asia becomes the main consumer of energy in the world, the Poverty Eradication including food security, sustainable economic growth and role of APA Parliaments to adopt legislation in supporting the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Senator Chhit Kim Yeat, representative of APA President from Combodia said in his inaugral remarks said that in order to realize the ultimate goal of Asian Parliamentary Assembly, that is, “Integration in Asia”, we have to start from somewhere, possibly from Asian Integrated Energy Market. He futherer added that the role of parliament is essential in improving economic, social and cultural sectors to improve the human development and promote the Human Development Index as an index for the sustainable development goals.

Speaker National Assembly Ayaz Sadiq welcomed the delegates from various Asian countries and acknowledged and commended Mr. Rabbani as well as former Chairman Senate Syed Nayyer Hussain Bokhari for exemplary leadership and efforts to reinvigorate this esteemed forum during their respective tenures as APA President. While speaking on the occasion said Speaker National Assembly said that Asia’s rise as the global economic, technological and cultural hub, it has become necessary to promptly address and neutralize these common roadblocks jeopardizing the wellbeing, prosperity and future of teeming millions. What we need is building synergies and forging partnerships to deliver effectively as per the ideals of Asian Century. It is on this front that regional parliamentary forums such as APA can play the role of a lynchpin to come up with joint strategies to effective deal with critical issues of energy, food security, human rights, women empowerment, water and sanitation, growth and environment, which are common to the most of the Asia, he added. He said Pakistan is a responsible nuclear state and maintains highest standards of nuclear safety and security. Pakistan does not want to indulge in any nuclear arm race in the region.

In the second session Leader of the House Senator Raja Zafar ul Haq was unanimously elected as the chairman standing committee on economic and sustainable development Affairs. He in his remarks said It’s only through exchanging knowledge and expertise that we can fully exploit the abundance of natural resources, skilled human capital, and educated young population – all attributes that put Asia at the centre of the new World Order driven by Asian minds and hands in the 21st Century. I am confident that the commitments we have made here will usher in a new era of prosperity, peace, and sustainable development for our people, he added.

Senator Mushahid Hussein Syed welcomed the foreign delegates and introduced Pakistani delegation.While addressing the meeting he said that the balance of power is shifting from West to Asia and future lies with Asia. He said that the time has come when decision regarding Asia should be made within Asia rather than countries of Europe and America.

Senator Sherry Rehman said that in the near future it will be impossible for disintegrated countries to meet the challenges of contemporary world. The countries that not integrated will not be able to save themselves from the onslaught of climate degradation.