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South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation Speakers, Parliamentarians Association could help make it more effective: Fehmida

Islamabad, November 05, 2012 (PPI-OT): Speaker National Assembly Dr Fehmida Mirza Monday said the association of Saarc Speakers and Parliamentarians could help making the South Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) more effective by accelerating people to people contacts among the member countries.

Addressing the 6th conference of the Association of Saarc Speakers and Parliamentarians, she said the parliamentarians, as the representatives of the people are the ideal agents of change. The regular and more frequent meetings of the forum can help focusing the issues of urgent importance affecting the daily lives of the people. The association could imbue new life in Saarc.

“I am pleased to note that since our last meeting in New Delhi in 2011, all our member Parliaments have shown determination to benefit from the Association,” she added.

SAARC has been instrumental in promoting regional integration through sustained dialogue and cooperation in diverse fields of economic and human development, environment and climate concerns, science, technology, culture and tourism since the last two decades. However, the gap between the promise of SAARC and the reality of its accomplishment still remains large, she observed.

She said the charter of SAARC was guiding the governments to seek for a peaceful, progressive and democratic South Asia by “promoting the welfare of the peoples in mutual trust, understanding and appreciation of one another’s problems”.

Welcoming the delegates she said: “It is indeed an honour for me to assume the Chair of the President of the 6thConference of the Association of SAARC Speakers and Parliamentarians. The Parliament of Pakistan is privileged to hold this important regional parliamentary event and on its behalf.”

She said the Women Parliamentarians have agreed on setting up a permanent “Women’s Committee of SAARC Association of Speakers and Parliamentarians.” She urged the secretary general to take up the matter at the earliest.

She said the Council on Sunday discussed ways and means to encourage young parliamentarians from its platform. It was decided that the Committee of Secretaries General and Secretaries would present a detailed plan of action in the next Conference in 2013 in Male, the Maldives.

The decisions are indeed positive developments and reflect the common desire to promote and strengthen the mutual parliamentary contact, she said.

The Conference provides the worthy delegates a perfect setting to discuss matters placed before this Conference in friendship and candour, she added.

Deputy Speaker Faisal Karim Kundi said under the leadership of Dr Fehmida Mirza the association of speakers and parliamentarians would help peaceful and progressive region.

Speaking on topic titled “Meaningful Participatory Democracy in South Asia,” he said the Saarc parliamentarians have the requisite powers and means to express the will of the people through law making and oversight and advocacy functions therefore they can contribute effectively to guaranteeing the people’s rights and liberties, securing civil peace and ensuring harmonious development.

The relationships between the parliament and democracy can only be cemented with the active participation of the people.

South Asia face common challenges of terrorism, extremism, mass poverty, unemployment, lack of adequate health care, literacy, governance and environmental degradation. All the problems could be overcome by adopting a strengthened and collective democratic approach.

The deputy speaker said unity is the key for meeting all challenges. The modern technology has enabled the people of remote areas to contribute their views in strengthening democratic culture.

For more information, contact:
Karamat Hussain Niazi
Secretary
National Assembly of Pakistan
Parliament House, Islamabad
Tel: +9251 922 1082 -83
Fax: +9251 922 1106

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