ISLAMABAD: National Assembly (NA) Speaker Asad Qaiser on Sunday called for greater interaction and people-to-people contact in the region for the sake of peace and development, and stressed the need for new synergies of parliamentary and economic cooperation among each other.
He expressed these views while talking to Iranian President Dr Hassan Rouhani.
He said that Pakistan enjoys close cordial relations with our brotherly neighbour, Iran. The shared sentiments of our friendship are deeply rooted in historical bonds spread over centuries of shared faith, culture, traditions and economic complementarities, he added.
Recalling the recent statement of the Iranian supreme leader in support of the Kashmiris, Asad Qaiser thanked the Iranian president and the Iranian government for supporting the Kashmir cause. The Kashmir issue is the long-standing unresolved disputes which require resolution in accordance with United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions, he said.
The Iranian president warmly welcomed Pakistan’s parliamentary delegation in Tehran and wished the safe stay in the beautiful capital of Iran. He stated that Iran considered Pakistan as a very important brotherly neighbouring Muslim country. “The bonds of friendship between Pakistan and Iran have been maintained irrespective of any government in power both in Iran and Pakistan due to the commonality of culture. Both nations have deep links and it goes down the long history and rich civilisation” the Iranian President said.
The Iranian president stressed upon the need to increase cooperation between Pakistan and Iran in the field of trade, commerce, energy and security.
While meeting with Abdul Raouf Ibrahimi, speaker of the Wolesi Jirga of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Asad Qaiser said that the new government in Pakistan is committed to robust and friendly relations with Afghanistan. Two countries are inter-linked and look towards each other with considerable expectations in many areas, he added.
“The centuries-old bonds and affinities of our people are the real strength of our bilateral relations and need to be leveraged effectively,” he said.
Further, he stressed that increasing interactions among the parliamentarians of both countries could contribute to building trust and improving mutual understanding. During the meeting, he said that unfortunately, the security situation in Afghanistan remains a challenge and peace and stability in Afghanistan is in the best interest of Pakistan. “We believe that Pakistan is a key stakeholder and a major beneficiary of peace in Afghanistan,” he added.
Abdul Raouf Ibrahimi stated that terrorism was a common threat and there was a need for concerted effort to fight this menace. He hoped that the conference would bear fruitful results since the parliament, being the representative voice of people, was responsible to play a pivotal role in finding a solution to all the prevailing challenges. He also said that the bilateral trade between the two countries had declined over the last few years and, therefore, there was a need to enhance economic and political relations.
While meeting with the Standing Committee of the People’s Republic Vice Chairman China Chen Zhu, the NA speaker said that Pakistan and China are close friends and strategic cooperative partners.
“We take pride in our friendship with China which is our iron bother. This friendship enjoys political, institutional and popular support in Pakistan” he added.
He said that the strategic cooperative partnership between two countries is moving from strength to strength and is an anchor for regional peace and stability. Pakistan would like to learn from Chinese experience of development, poverty eradication and fight against corruption, he said.
He expressed his pleasure on strong government-to-government contacts between Pakistan and China. However, he stressed upon the need to enhance and strengthen institutional linkages between the parliaments of two brotherly countries.
He also said that Pakistan had been making significant progress in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project which would play a huge role in the development and prosperity of both nations. He further informed that all political parties, provincial governments and locals had been taken on board with regard to CPEC projects.
The vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress stated that Pakistan had been doing well on economic fronts and appreciated the government’s efforts for combating terrorism quite successfully.
He also appreciated Pakistan’s role in maintaining peace and stability in the region. Chen Zhu stated that there was a need for enhanced socio-economic, political and security cooperation. He shared that more organisations would be interested to invest in Pakistan with advancements in CPEC.
While meeting with his Russian counterpart Vyacheslav V Volodin, Asad Qaiser said that Pakistan desires to forge a long-term and multidimensional partnership with Russia, especially in the fields of trade, energy, defence, security, space, peaceful use of nuclear energy, culture, education and people-to-people contact.
“It is heartening to see that regular interaction between the parliaments of our two countries is progressing satisfactorily” he added.
He expressed his gratitude for the consistent Russian support to Pakistan for full membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) throughout the process. Such support is evident of the close friendship and cooperation between two countries on bilateral and multilateral forums, he added.
The chairman of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, Vyacheslav V Volodin, stressed upon the need to foster people-to-people contact and inter-parliamentary linkages through the exchange of visits between legislatures of Pakistan and Russia. He also opined to augment trade and economic relations between the two countries as there is huge potential for it.
On Saturday, while addressing the 2nd Speakers’ Conference hosted by Tehran, the NA speaker called for collective efforts from participating countries in combating terrorism.
He commended Iran for its effective role in the fight against terrorism in the past two decades, adding that “our region is in a specially sensitive situation today, which requires closer cooperation [among regional states] in combating terrorism”. Pakistan will utilise all its power in the fight against terrorism, he stressed.
Asad Qaiser maintained that developing relations, with economic cooperation as the top priority, is the only way to regional development and eradication of poverty. Pakistan, as the next host of the Speakers’ Conference, promises the Iranian Parliament to be always on the Islamic Republic’s side, he concluded.