ISLAMABAD: Terming xenophobia, global warming and economic disparity as major global challenges, President Dr Arif Alvi on Tuesday called for developing an international consensus for their effective and sustainable solutions.
Addressing the inaugural session of 5th Regional Conference of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), the president said that parliaments worldwide had an important responsibility to bring change in the lives of people through legislation focusing on human development.
The conference titled ‘Envisioning parliamentary paths towards a diverse and developed South Asia’ gathered key representatives from Commonwealth countries besides special guests from the United Kingdom, Malaysia, Uganda and legislative assemblies of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).
President Alvi said that the onus was on parliaments to set a course for governments to take steps in direction of creating balance, equality and equity in societies.
To remove financial inequality, he said, recovering taxes from affluent and distributing the collected wealth among poor was a significant measure on part of governments.
However, he said corporate sector and multinationals sometimes had an undue influence on public policies by challenging the authority of parliaments through money and power, both at national and international levels.
He said the problem could be better addressed through the collective will of politicians and people by resisting formulation of policies contrary to the interest of general public.
The president said that welfare of the people of Pakistan and South Asian could be ensured by making progress in fields of education and health in particular.
He mentioned that the country’s renowned economist late Dr Mehboobul Haq in 70s had emphasized on human development as a vital factor in attainment of prosperity.
The president said that Pakistan gained respect for its moral and humane gesture of hosting 3.5 million refugees for more than three decades. Now, the world today is adopting a shameful approach by closing its borders on refugees, even letting them drown in Mediterranean, he added.
The president expressed confidence that the conference would contribute to create mutually beneficial bonds among the countries in the best interest of their peoples.
National Assembly (NA) Speaker Asad Qaiser said that Pakistan was sincerely committed to the Charter of CPA and believed that durable peace and progress in the region were in the interest of all countries.
As the world moves forward to achieve the common agenda of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), he said the parliament of Pakistan was the first parliament to boast its own Women Parliamentary Caucus, SDGs Secretariat and Young Parliamentarians Forum.
Uganda Parliament Speaker and CPA President Rebecca A Kadaga said that parliamentary collaboration could envision the dream of prosperity and prove helpful in addressing the common global challenges of health, hunger and malnutrition.
CPA Executive Committee Chairperson and Deputy Speaker of National Assembly of Cameroon Emilia Monjowa Lifaka said that parliaments needed to enact laws that protect the category of human beings, as besides men, there could be no meaningful development without involvement of women and youth.
She urged upon the parliamentarians to build bridges of dialogue and exchange of knowledge for the betterment of societies.
Member of Federal Parliament of Malaysia and Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians Chairperson Noraini Ahmad said that a paradigm shift was needed to hit the targets of digitalisation and industrial revolution in South Asia.
She said that political will was important for achieving common agendas which provided substantial guidance for future discussions on women empowerment, particularly in domains of economy and politics.
The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association comprises some 180 national and sub-national branches seeking to promote the advancement of parliamentary democracy by enhancing knowledge and understanding of democratic governance.
The activities of CPA focus on the Commonwealth’s commitment to its fundamental political values including poverty alleviation, human rights, international peace, global economic development, gender equality and rule of law.
The conference will continue till August 2.