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TEXT: I am delighted to welcome all the Members of Parliament (MPs) and delegates from the PAECO member states at the 2ND GENERAL CONFERENCE OF PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY OF ECONOMIC COOPERATION ORGANIZATION (PAECO) in Islamabad. I also congratulate the Speaker, National Assembly of Pakistan, Mr. Asad Qaiser for bringing together galaxy of MPs from Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Turkey and Uzbekistan to delve on the imperative theme, “Promoting Parliamentary Partnership for Regional Integration.”

Legislatures across the world are grappling with numerous challenges arising out of the socio-political and economic situation as well as the COVID-19 pandemic, which has posed immense threats in the shape of poverty, hunger and inequalities in this globalized world. Being one of the key pillars of the state, the Parliament is the only institution vested with the primary responsibility to become the voice of general masses. Therefore, I believe that such initiatives of the PAECO towards gradual regional integration by promoting advanced connectivity, transport and a liberal trade regime amongst ECO countries in addition to robust functional cooperation to advance people to people interactions through tourism will lead to sustainable development and poverty alleviation of millions of our local communities.

I wish all delegates including national MPs from participating nations, a memorable stay in our serene capital and a wholesome participation with the assurance that the Parliamentary institutions in Pakistan will always prove catalyst towards regional integration. Long live our joint efforts in unison towards an integrated ECO region for the greater welfare and happiness of our proud and resilient people.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021