Representatives of 23 countries meet in Murree to mull EU-like bloc

MAMOSA Report — 70 representatives from 23 Asian countries met in Murree on Tuesday to discuss the possibility of creating a regional bloc similar to the European Union (EU) during a conference hosted by the Senate.

India and Afghanistan both sent envoys to the conference ─ a three-day meeting of a special committee on the creation of Asian Parliament and Asian Parliamentary Assembly on Political Affairs ─ which comes amid increasingly tense relations the two of them have with Pakistan.

Ramzan Sajid, a parliament spokesman, said the conference from March 13-17 is likely to suggest the formation of an APA. However, with huge rivalries among countries of the continent, the possibility of establishing such a bloc is remote, according to Dawn.

A three-member Indian delegation of MPs which attended the conference included Shashi Tharoor, Meenakshi Lekhi and Swapan Dasgupta.

Addressing the participants, Chairman Senate Mian Raza Rabbani said Asia must decide its own destiny and white racism and western imperialism were not going to solve its problems.

Rabbani told participants “that the destiny of Asia must not be directed by capitalist Western states”.

“We represent the people who are suffering, under nourished, are the object of poverty and victim of terrorism. If we were unable to find indigenous solution for the problems of our own people history will not forgive us,” Rabbani remarked.

He said Asia was a land of natural resources, which were being exploited by western imperialism. “Asia still continues to suffer through neo-colonialism,” he added.

Pointing out the changing world after US presidential elections and Brexit, he hoped the meeting would produce good results.

“We, the parliamentarians of Asia sitting here, represent the people who are suffering, under-nourished, objects of poverty and victims of terrorism. If we are unable to find an indigenous solution to the problems of our own people, history will not forgive us,” he said, according to a press release issued by the Senate Secretariat.

Rabbani observed that Asia continues to suffer through neo-colonialism and pointed out the changing context of the world by highlighting the consequences of Brexit and the United States presidential election.

The Asian people will lose hope in their parliaments if our generation fails to rise to meet their expectations, Rabbani told conference participants.

Speaker of People’s Assembly of Syria Dr. Hadiyeh Abbas said she believed that the need for cooperation and solidarity is greater than ever before.

Speaker of the National Assembly of Bhutan Lyonpo Jigme Zangpo said that diversity has always been the mass-code of Asia, and that fragmentation of our continent would never facilitate cooperation.

A delegate from Cambodia deliberated on the importance of parliament in promoting peace and security in regional and global affairs.

He noted that political stability is indispensable in Asia. Peace and security require efficient peace mechanisms. Hence, a parliamentary system is a prime method of promoting dialogue and cooperation, he said.

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