ECO parliament heads condemn rights violations in Kashmir, Palestine

Speak Asad Qaiser calls for greater cooperation among member states to achieve regional development

AGENCIES June 01, 2021
A file of Srinagar. PHOTO: REUTERS

Members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Economic Cooperation Organization (PAECO) on Tuesday strongly condemned human rights violations in Indian-Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), a statement by the National Assembly said.

The unanimous declaration was made by the organization’s Executive Council meeting, attended by parliament speakers from the ECO, which currently has 10 members, including Pakistan, Iran, Turkey and Afghanistan.

The two-day conference is being held in Islamabad. “In its landmark outcome document, The Islamabad Declaration, the forum extended unanimous support to the oppressed peoples” of Kashmir and Palestine, the statement said.

On the proposal of Turkey and Afghanistan, the council elected National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser chairperson of PAECO’s Executive Council. Welcoming the delegates, Qaiser emphasised the need for greater cooperation among the member states to achieve regional development.

Addressing the inaugural session of the 2nd PAECO Conference titled “Promoting Parliamentary Partnership for Regional Integration”, the speaker said the ECO countries were sole route for international trade between West and East.

The construction of the railway track from China to Pakistan under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would help in economic development of the entire Central Asian region. He added that multilateral cooperation was imperative for regional development and economic prosperity.

The speaker remarked that the 10-member ECO region, with an area 8 million square kilometres and vast population of 460 million had immense potential of mutual cooperation in the spheres of trade and economy.

He added that the parliament of Pakistan successfully organised a seminar to explore the opportunities to promote trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan in 2020 and multiple initiatives had been taken under the Executive Committee of the Pak-Afghan parliamentary Friendship Group.

While mentioning the plight of innocent Kashmiris and Palestinians, he remarked that the world should take stock of the gross violations of the basic human rights in IIOJK and in Palestine. “Without resolution of Kashmir and Palestine issues sustainable peace cannot be achieved,” he said.

Qaiser thanked for members for unanimously electing his as the chairperson of the PAECO Executive Assembly. He said that PAECO would provide a platform for strengthening the inter-parliamentary cooperation. He also congratulated Afghanistan – the host of 3rd PAECO conference.

On the occasion, ECO Secretary General Dr Hadi Soleimanpour stressed the need for cementing the existing economic and cultural ties among the member countries. He described the second PAECO conference as an important occasion.

He stressed that it was the high time to expand the geo-economic and geo-cultural ties among the member countries to make the organisation more active and efficient. He urged the member countries to focus on trade, connectivity, energy, economic growth, tourism and poverty alleviation.

The secretary general emphasised the need for enhancing cooperation, especially in the field of tourism, saying that tourist visas facility should be provided to the people of member countries. He also stressed the need for streamlining the funding system for the organisation.

The meeting was attended by Mir Rehman Rahmani ,Speaker of the Wolsi Jirga of Afghanistan, Sahiba Gafarova, Speaker of the Mili Majlis of Azerbaijan, Mr Talant Mamytov, Speaker of the Supreme Council of Kyrgyz Republic, Zokirzoda Mahmodthohir, Chairman of the Majlisi Namoyandagon of the Majlisi Oli, Republic of Tajikstan, Mustafa Sentop ,Speaker of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, Ismoilov Nurdinjoin, Speaker of the Majlis Oli of the Republic of Uzbekistan and Mynbay Darkhan, head of the delegation of the House of Representatives of Kazakhstan.

Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, Speaker of the Islamic Consultative Assembly of Iran, Gulshat Mammedova, Chairperson of the Mejlis of Turkmenistan, and Dr Hadi Soleimanpour Secretary General of ECO addressed the conference via a video link.

In their addresses the guest speakers appreciated the Pakistan’s effort to bring member of ECO parliaments on the platform of PAECO.

They also mentioned about vast opportunities in the field of economy and trade.