Islamabad: The 5th Conference of the SAARC Speakers and Parliamentarians Association will be held in Islamabad next year. This was announced by the Speaker National Assembly Dr. Fehmida Mirza during her address at the inaugural Ceremony of the Fifth Conference of the SAARC Speakers and Parliamentarians Association which was held in New Delhi today. The decision was unanimously taken during the meeting of the Council of SAARC Speakers before the Inaugural Ceremony, says a press release received here today from Delhi.
During her speech, she emphasised that SAARC Parliamentarians are entrusted to protect and preserve the freedom for which founding fathers of South Asia, the Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru, Dr. Ambhedkar and A.K. Fazlul Haq fought .Standing in the shadows of these great leaders, I find reason to compliment the entire SAARC fraternity, she added
The Speaker termed it a historic achievement in its own right that it’s for the first time in the thousand years of our collective history that all 8 nations have functioning democratic systems. The revival of our Association at this juncture is not only timely but also vital for the strengthening and development of democratic parliamentary traditions in South Asia. This is a goal, which was also envisioned by our respective leaders when they met for the SAARC Silver Jubilee in Thimphu last year, She added.
The Speaker reiterated that our Governments are pledged to create a Conclave of SAARC Parliamentarians, by recognizing the need to draw on the democratic and participatory tradition, collectively represented by the Parliamentarians of South Asia.
Reminding the fact that in line with the Millennium Development Goals, the SAARC Association also set its own development agenda by envisioning SAARC Development Goals at the 13th Summit in Dhaka in 2005. However, the speaker opined that little has been heard of these targets during the last six years.
Such matters of public concern cannot be ignored and left on the back burner, she emphasized.
The Parliaments of SAARC have to be pro-active in pushing a people’s agenda as the Executive’s top priority.
The Speaker revealed that the National Assembly of Pakistan has recently passed a unanimous resolution to establish a Parliamentary Committee for monitoring and accelerating the existing slow pace in achieving the MDGs, and Similar affirmative actions by other sister Parliaments of South Asia can enable our region in finding practical solutions to end the collective miseries of our people.
The Speaker also proposed that a combined SAARC Parliamentary Committee, assigned to monitor the progress on 22 SDGs can offer a viable cross-country mechanism of sharing experiences, best-practices and establishing institutional linkages.
Stressing that South Asia, being truly pluralistic, is not merely a landmass of 8 countries, it’s a living body of 1.7 billion people, it is a melting pot of countless cultures, faith, creeds and ideas. And its diversity can be of immense benefit to its people if we are able to converge this unique divergence.
She also stressed that we must jointly strive to make South Asia a truly democratic society by:
Enabling our parliamentarians to engage in a constructive dialogue;
By encouraging them to carve consensus out of discord and
By empowering them to cut through the glass ceilings, which restrict the healthy growth of a united and mature South Asia.
Dr. Fehmida Mirza also congratulated Meira Kumar, the first woman Speaker of the Lok Sabha, and the entire Parliament of India for hosting this important conference and reviving a dormant platform after a long gap of 6 years.
Dr. Fehmida Mirza also the brotherly Parliament of Afghanistan, the Wolesi Jirga, into the fold SAARC.
Dr. Fehmida Mirza, Speaker, National Assembly of Pakistan, is the first Pakistani leader to deliver a speech in the historic Central Hall of Indian Parliament Building
Earlier, Ms. Meira Kumar, Speaker Lok Sabah, in her welcome address termed Pakistan, the second largest country in SAARC, a major driving force in the regional cooperation. She emphasised that enhanced interaction and exchange in the region will fortify our efforts to confront similar socio-economic concerns.
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