SAARC MPs’ conference concludes with call for peace

Newshopper, July 11, 2011

New Delhi, July 11 (IANS) The fifth conference of SAARC MPs concluded here Monday amid calls for peace and rule of law in the South Asian region.

On the last day of the four-day conference, the participants who included speakers and parliamentarians from the eight South Asian countries deliberated on ‘Consolidating Democracy: Strengthening Trust between Parliament and the People’ and ‘Sustainable Development in (the) SAARC Countries: The Way Forward’.

In her concluding remarks, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, who presided over the conference, said there was consensus on a host of issues in the summit.

‘It was an educative experience for the speakers and parliamentarians from all the SAARC countries to come together and exchange views on topical subjects of common concern for the South Asian region,’ she said.

She stressed that it was the ‘onerous responsibility of parliaments and parliamentarians to strengthen the roots of democracy in the region’.

‘MPs must work together to strengthen democratic values of protection of individual rights, rule of law, justice and to meet the aspirations of the people,’ she emphasized.

Meira Kumar expressed satisfaction over the speakers’ council deciding to form a group of women parliamentarians for the annual meeting.

This was done after amending the charter of the association to include at least one woman member in every delegation to enable them to meet in the Forum of Women Parliamentarians of the Association on the sidelines of the conference every year.

In her vote of thanks, Fehmida Mirza, the speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan, congratulated her Indian counterpart on the successful conclusion of the conference.

The conference of the Association of SAARC Speakers and Parliamentarians was inaugurated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh July 9.

It had delegates from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan and Maldives.

The 6th conference of the association will be held in Islamabad next year and the seventh in the Maldives in 2013.

Meira Kumar also met her counterparts from Bangladesh, Maldives and Nepal on the sidelines of the conference Monday.

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