It is a privilege of Pakistan that the Sixth Conference of the Association of SAARC Speakers and Parliamentarians is going to be held in Islamabad from November 4 to November 6, 2012. This prestigious kind of connection provides a plinth for the peoples of South Asia to work together in a spirit of amity, faith and understanding. It intends to promote the welfare of the peoples of South Asia and to improve their quality of life through accelerated financial expansion, social development and cultural growth in the region.
SAARC has been dedicated the Decade 2010-2020 as the “Decade of Intra-regional Connectivity”. In view of this icon, the ideas and their plans will be discussed how to come closer to achieve the milestone of this decade.
SAARC has come to personify the hopes and desires of the peoples of our region for peace, progress and prosperity. We have the capacity to become an important sign for regional as well as global economic growth. It has all the indispensable features in terms of human and natural resources to work for the economic miracle of this century.
The cultural empathy among our peoples is a huge quality. Shared geography and history has culminated in an inimitable amalgamation of culture and traditions. In many ways this region is unique. We must enable SAARC to capture the imagination of our peoples and contribute to creating strong mutually beneficial bonds.
Interfaith and inter-cultural harmony must find extraordinary accent in SAARC’s programs. An interactive process in this domain will contribute to reveal the beauty and strength of a true South Asian identity.
Poverty alleviation, food and energy security, health and education are among the SAARC priorities. We must intensify our efforts to realize the SAARC Development Goals. We must reinforce regional collaboration through sharing of experiences, best practices and establishing institutional linkages.
Climate change is a common challenge tackling the SAARC region. Having suffered from unprecedented floods in past, Pakistan fully understands the urgent and persuasive need for concentrated and focused awareness on the issue by SAARC member states.
Although SAARC is very vibrant but it could not progress in different areas which were expected like ASEAN, EU, etc. The releasing order of the fishermen, who violates the geographical boundaries, is not enough. Fashion shows and the Indian movies in Pakistani cinemas are not only the solution of our problems. We should address our real issues who can change the lifestyle of the entire region.
We must appreciate the steps taken by South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) for the economic development. Pakistan would reduce its sensitive list to only 100 items by 2017 and India will bring its sensitive list down to 100 items by 2013 under SAFTA. But we have a long way to go for peace, harmony and to tolerate each other.
Lastly we hope that the member States commence for the following reasons:
• Wishing for of encouraging peace, constancy, harmony and progress in the region through stern devotion to the principles of the United Nations Charter, particularly respect for the principles of sovereign equality, territorial integrity, national independence, non-use of force and non-interference in the internal affairs of other States and peaceful settlement of all disputes.
• Aware that in an increasingly interdependent world, the objectives of peace, freedom, social justice and economic prosperity is best achieved in the South Asian region by nurturing mutual understanding, good neighbourly relations and meaningful cooperation among the Member States which are bound by ties of history and culture.
• Recognizing the importance of bridging differences, creating better understanding and promoting amity and mutually beneficial and comprehensive cooperation in order to promote effective linkages and connectivity for greater movement of people, enhanced investment and trade in the region.
• Strengthen the linkage of development and democracy;
• Promote sustainable development and alleviation of poverty through good governance, equitable and participatory processes;
• Ensure gender mainstreaming in government and society;
• Support participatory democracy characterized by free, fair and credible elections;