Parliamentary Assembly of the ECO

The National Assembly of Pakistan hosted the second general conference of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Economic Cooperation Organization (PAECO) from 1-2 June in Islamabad. The conference was attended by speakers and parliament heads from Turkey, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, with speakers from Iran and Turkmenistan taking part by video link. 

Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaisar in his welcome speech said the meeting will deliberate upon and cover a wide spectrum of themes related to “Role of Parliaments in enhancing trade and connectivity, Impact of Covid-19 on Sustainable Development Goals implementation in the region, Advancing tourism for development and poverty alleviation followed by a special meeting of the Women Parliamentarians.” 

President of Pakistan Dr. Arif Alvi inaugurated the conference on 1st June. In his speech President Alvi emphasized stronger trade and connectivity among ECO countries in order to achieve the goals of integrated regional development and prosperity. He said economic integration among regional states can act as an effective driver to foster sustainable peace and security.

Prime Minister of Pakistan Mr. Imran Khan was the chief guest at the concluding session on 2nd June. In his address Imran Khan proposed the formation of an EU-like regional bloc of ECO countries. He hoped peace in Afghanistan will help connect Central Asian republics with Pakistan. Imran Khan urged ECO member states to give incentives to each other and enhance economic and trade relations.

The joint declaration adopted at the conclusion of the meeting called on the member states to take effective measures for enhancing intra-regional trade through early implementation of the ECO Trade Agreement. The member states reaffirmed their solidarity with the "oppressed" people of Palestine and "Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir" and condemned the gross human rights violations against them.

Speaker of Grand National Assembly of Turkey Mustafa Sentop led the Turkish delegation and included parliamentarians Ali Şahin, Asuman Erdoğan, Ceyda Bölünmez Çankırı, Yavuz Ergun, Halis Dalkiliç and GNAT Secretary General Mehmet Ali Kumbuzoğlu . Speaker Sentop separately called on President of Pakistan Dr. Arif Alvi and Speaker National Assembly of Pakistan Mr. Asad Qaisar. 

Speaker GNAT Mustafa Sentop and National Speaker Asad Qaisar signed a protocol on behalf of their respective parliaments to strengthen inter-parliamentary relations between the two countries. As per protocol, both parliaments would also support and encourage reciprocal visits and contacts between delegations of lawmakers, and enhance contacts between Standing Committees of the Parliaments.