Speech by Saleem Mandviwala Deputy Chairman, Senate of Pakistan at the Third Meeting of Speakers of Eurasian Countries’ Parliaments at Antalya, Turkey on 9 October 2018

His Excellency, Binali Yıldırım, Speaker, Grand National Assembly of Turkey;
Honourable Speakers of Asian and European Parliaments;
Honourable Parliamentarians;
Distinguished Guests;
Ladies and Gentlemen!

A very Good Afternoon to you all!

It is a privilege for me to address this esteemed gathering of Honourable Speakers and representatives of the Parliaments spanning across two continents.

As head of the delegation from the Senate of Pakistan, I extend our appreciation to the Russian Federation, Republic of Korea for taking this initiative to bring the Parliaments of Eurasian Countries together and special thanks to Grand National Assembly of Turkey for hosting this third Conference. Here I take this opportunity to express my deep appreciation on the warm hospitality that has been extended to my delegation.

Ladies and Gentlemen!
The Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA) is not only a symbol of the democratic traditions of Turkey, but nearly two years ago, also demonstrated to the entire world the transformative role that Parliaments can play in ensuring political stability and social transformation.

The presence of such a large number of Parliamentary delegations here today, from across the Eurasian region, is not only a testimony to the increasing role of Parliamentary diplomacy towards achieving peace and prosperity in global politics, but also shows the ever-growing importance of the Meeting of Speakers of Eurasian Countries’ Parliaments (MSEAP).   

Together, we all represent over 4 billion people from Asia and Europe. Thus it highlights the immense potential this forum carries to achieve cooperation for the prosperity of our people.

Ladies and Gentlemen!
Keeping in view the potential of this forum, it may be converted into a POWER HOUSE to make decisions which can be implemented by the respective Parliaments of Eurasian Countries in order to bring the desired CHANGE.

At this platform, we represent diverse mix of races, ethnicity, and religion. It gives us all the opportunity to end all forms of discrimination against each other. Unless we do so, we cannot expect to achieve our core goals of ensuring social justice, peace, and sovereignty of Parliament.
Our geographies are unique and grant us a wide classification of environmental experiences as well. I lend special focus on the environmental aspect of this meeting’s agenda, because it is not some national or regional issue, but a global responsibility.

Climate change is a threat to the very existence of life on our planet. We must, at all costs, accord environmental issues a high priority in our policy formulation in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and numerous UN resolutions.

This highlights the need to ensure continued world economic growth in environmentally sustainable ways, improve the economic performance of least developed countries and at the same time achieve significant reductions in the incidence of poverty, all this, through increased economic cooperation.

Ladies and Gentlemen!

“Sustainable development” is a universal goal that can only be achieved through peace and cooperation by viewing the world through the prism of cooperation rather than competition.

We feel that this forum can be utilized for achieving sustainable peace by addressing the underlying causes of long-simmering, unresolved global conflicts; by tackling extreme poverty and global socio-political and economic disparities; by giving a level-playing field to all in trade and commerce; through responsible exploitation of natural resources; by addressing the spectre of environmental degradation and climate change; and by developing synergies and compatibilities between our national aims and ambitions with the quest for inclusive development at the global level.

The pathway to this common goal passes through regional integration; trade liberalization; greater regional and global connectivity; and a mutual appreciation and understanding of all cultures and civilizations. 

Pakistan, as a developing economy faces several challenges. It not only needs to spur its economic growth and development, but also needs to ensure that this growth and development is sustainable.

The ‘Vision 2025’ of the Government of Pakistan aims at achieving sustainable development and to addresses human and social development gaps. The seven pillars of Vision-2025 are fully aligned with the SDGs, providing a comprehensive long-term strategy for achieving inclusive growth and sustainable development.

Pakistan has prioritized the Sustainable Development Goals which will enable us to join the league of upper middle-class countries by 2030. Pakistan was the first country to adopt SDGs 2030 agenda through a unanimous resolution of parliament.

Ladies and Gentlemen!

In order to achieve the goal of sustainable development, it is imperative to resolve long, simmering global disputes.

Jammu & Kashmir dispute remains one of the longest lasting situations of foreign occupation, like Palestine, and the longest unresolved issue on the agenda of the United Nations Security Council.

The UN Security Council, through its numerous resolutions, clearly and unequivocally, declared that the final disposition of the State of Jammu & Kashmir would be made in accordance with the will of the people expressed through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite, conducted under the auspices of the United Nation.

Sadly, today Jammu & Kashmir remains an international flashpoint and the Kashmiris in Indian Occupied Kashmir continue to suffer from worst human rights abuses.

The international community must take urgent action to help stop the grave human rights violations taking place in Indian Occupied Kashmir, and fulfill its moral responsibility towards the Kashmiri people by helping them realize their inalienable right to self-determination.

Ladies and Gentlemen!

At the Parliamentary level, the Asian Parliamentary Assembly (APA) adopted a resolution in 2017, encouraging all member Parliaments in Asia to support and promote the implementation of SDG’s in their respective Parliaments. I am certain that Europe is equally committed for the same.

We have excellent and successful examples such as the European Parliament and the APA. While those platforms are dedicated to their own intra-continental issues, we can seize this opportunity to formally convert this platform into a strong Parliamentary Forum to oversight the Executive and ensure supremacy of Parliament.

This unprecedented inter-continental Parliamentary Forum will bring about a much-needed change in global cooperation strategies, where bilateral and Parliamentary relations will be granted a new dimension altogether. In this context, Pakistan would like to host meeting of this Forum in the coming years.

I also feel that we must also establish a permanent or rotational secretariat of this forum to practically achieve our goals.

I would also like to mention that Pakistan will be hosting forthcoming meeting of Asian Parliamentary Assembly’s Standing Committee on Political Affairs and Special Committee for Creation of  Asian Parliament (SCCAP) at Gwadar City from 29-31 October 2018 and we would like to see all the Members of APA, especially the co-hosts, Republic of Turkey and Republic of Korea, in Gwadar.

Ladies and Gentlemen!
I am hopeful that if we are successful with this endeavour, we can overcome global challenges with the might of our unity.

Let us all work together and complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses to provide the next generations a much better world to live in.

I thank you and hope to see you all in Pakistan very soon.

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