SAARC parliamentarians: Young MPs reaffirm desire to work for peace

Hope to improve ties through increased interaction. 

Hope to improve ties through increased interaction. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: Young parliamentarians from across South Asian countries have pledged to build bridges, give an alternative vision for the region and work for the promotion of peace, poverty alleviation and regional development.

“We reaffirm our desire to work together, strengthen and broaden our roles as young parliamentarians to build upon the existing alliances among us and key stakeholders at all levels is recognized … and to achieve our cherished vision of promoting the youth populations,” the Joint Islamabad Communiqué issued at the conclusion of the first Saarc Young Parliamentarians Conference (SYPC), here on Wednesday.

The members of the parliaments of Afghanistan, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, pledged to unite across party-lines in taking forward the knowledge and learnings drawn from two-day conference.

“We explored and discussed the idea of articulating the young parliamentarians’ narratives before the SAARC Summit scheduled to be held in Islamabad in November this year,” it said.

They reiterated to build stronger parliamentary links with each other, to share expertise regarding oversight of the executive, to influence governments to invest more in promoting peace, harmony and development for a secure and sustainable future for our coming generations.

The primary goal of the conference, organised jointly by the National Assembly (lower house) and the Pakistan Institute for Parliamentary Services (PIPS), was to build bridges between the future leaders of South Asia on a platform that supports continued engagement and cooperation, it said.

With sub-themes of peace and development, human rights, sustainable development, regional trade, cultural diplomacy, youth issues and social inclusion, the conference proved to be a watershed in engaging young parliamentarians to share knowledge and formulate action plans to unveil a future vision of empowerment of their young population.

“We express our sincere resolve to recommend the establishment and recognition of Saarc region’s Young Parliamentarians’ Forum as a representative body of parliamentarians aged up to the 45 years under the auspices of Saarc Secretariat,” the communiqué read.

The declaration also recommended the recognition of the rights of the young people and their common aspirations to live in peace, harmony and ensure prosperity through socio-economic and political empowerment; the need to adopt the Saarc youth charter to strengthen the youth voice of the region.

They also called for periodic exchanges of best practices regarding human security and human rights, easing of visa and travel arrangements among member countries to enhance people-to-people interactions.

The declaration also urged the promotion of inter-Saarc education, sports, tourism and cultural exchanges including arranging sports fixtures among teams of parliamentarians.

Addressing the concluding ceremony, National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq expressed his belief that it was up to the parliamentarians to resolve the issues in the battlefield or through dialogues.

He also stressed to give a fair share to women in the politics as well as in the inter-parliamentary delegations within the region.

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