SAARC ASP can imbue new life in main body: Fehmida

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National Assembly Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza, on Monday, hoped that the SAARC Association of Speakers and Parliamentarians could become the needed catalyst to imbue new life in SAARC. “Through regular and frequent meetings our forum can bring issues of urgent importance, which affect daily lives of our people, into focus. I am pleased to note that since our last meeting in New Delhi in 2011, all member Parliaments have shown determination to benefit from the Association,” she said, in her in formal opening speech at the General Assembly of the Association of SAARC Speakers and Parliamentarians.
She added that principles of the SAARC Charter had been guiding our governments to seek for a peaceful, progressive and democratic South Asia by ‘promoting welfare of people in mutual trust, understanding and appreciation of each others’ problems’. “However, the gap between promises of SAARC and the reality of its accomplishment still remains large” she observed, “This gap can be filled through accelerated people-to-people contact. As representatives of the people, parliamentarians are the ideal agents of change.”
She said that in over two decades of existence, SAARC had 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. The Council received a message from the first meeting of Women Parliamentarians, where women legislators agreed on setting up a permanent ‘Women’s Committee of SAARC Association of Speakers and Parliamentarians’. “The council agreed to the suggestion” she said, “It will now be formalised through an amendment in the Charter and Rules of Association. I request the Secretary General of our Association to take up the matter at the earliest. She added that the council had also 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 this regard in the next Conference in 2013 in Maldives. “These are indeed positive developments that reflect our common desire to promote and strengthen mutual parliamentary contact,” She noted,” I hope that the Islamabad Conference provides the worthy delegates a perfect setting to discuss matters placed before this conference in friendship and candour.
In my capacity as the president of this august assembly, I look forward to a meaningful outcome of the 6th Conference of the Association of SAARC Speakers and Parliamentarians and wish this conference the very best.”
Abdul Hamid, Speaker of the Jatiyo Sansad of the Republic of Bangladesh, Jig-MayTshul-tim, Speaker of the National Assembly of Bhutan, Smt. Meera Kumar, Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Republic of India, Abdulla Shahid, Speaker of the People’s Majlis of the Republic of Maldives, Chandima Weerak-ko-day, Deputy Speaker of the Parliament of the Republic of Sri Lanka, parliamentarians, delegates, observers and secretaries-general were present on the occasion.