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TEXT: It gives me immense pleasure to welcome the galaxy of Members of Parliament (MPs) and their respective parliamentary delegations from the ECO member states - Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Turkey and Uzbekistan, at the 2ND GENERAL CONFERENCE OF PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY OF ECONOMIC COOPERATION ORGANIZATION (PAECO) in Islamabad.

I believe trade and connectivity among ECO member states can play a pivotal role in ensuring cohesive regional development and prosperity. In the past few decades economic integration among regional states has gained momentum and governments are prioritizing regional integration to improve standard of living in their countries. Regional integration is an approach to bring together regional states in institutionalized trade policy reforms where member states formulate trade policies through mutual consensus and their economic bloc attracts increased domestic and foreign investments. Increased economic inter-dependency among regional states fosters sustainable peace, security and non-economic benefits.

I also felicitate the Speaker, National Assembly of Pakistan, Mr Asad Qaiser for bringing together this august assembly of National Members of Parliament (MPs) and high-level parliamentary experts and staffers from all ECO Member states to explore various facets of the imperative conference theme, “Promoting Parliamentary Partnership for Regional Integration.”

The Parliament is the citadel of people’s aspirations vested with the principal responsibility to become the voice of general masses. Therefore, it is my firm conviction that initiatives of the PAECO towards viable regional integration through an open trade market within the region; an easy visa regime; promotion of an advanced communication, connectivity and transport; can markedly develop people to people interactions and lead to sustainable development and poverty alleviation of millions of our local populations.

I wish all delegates an insightful and memorable participation in the 2ND GENERAL CONFERENCE OF PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY OF ECONOMIC COOPERATION ORGANIZATION (PAECO) in Islamabad. I assure you that the Parliamentary institutions and the Government of Pakistan will leave no stone unturned towards sincerest efforts in all facets of regional integration amongst the ECO member states.

Long live all our collaborative endeavours towards a more connected, developed and integrated ECO region for the prosperity and emancipation of our great nations.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021