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Pakistan to host conference of parliament heads of ECO countries

Delegations from Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, other member states have started arriving in Islamabad

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Pakistan will host the second general conference of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Economic Cooperation Organization (PAECO) starting on Tuesday.

The two-day conference will be attended by the parliamentary heads from Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

The agenda items of the conference include discussions on the impact of COVID-19 on implementation of Sustainable Development Goals, the role of parliaments in enhancing trade and connectivity, and advancing tourism for development and poverty alleviation.

In an interview with Anadolu Agency, Asad Qaiser, the speaker of Pakistan’s National Assembly of Pakistan, who will be hosting the conference, said: “The aim of this conference is to help and push our governments to further strengthen economic and trade relations, and boost people-to-people contacts between our member states.”

Read more: SDGs: Is Pakistan doing better than its neighbors?

PAECO was founded in 2013 and its first Inaugural meeting was held in Islamabad in Feb 2013, with aimed to support the member states in enhancing the socio-economic development of the region

Turkish parliament speaker Mustafa Sentop along with his delegation will arrive in Pakistan to participate in the conference.

Speaking about historical relations between Pakistan and Turkey, Qaiser said both brotherly countries enjoy a “unique” relationship.

“Our relationship is unique and enviable, based on strong historical linkages and the roots of today’s ties between the two nations can be traced back to 19th century,” he said.

He added that Pakistan and Turkey support each other at every international forum and also raise voice for oppressed Muslims around the world.

“Now we want to further strengthen our economic relations, bilateral trade between Islamabad and Ankara and also with our brotherly ECO countries,” he said.

The Muslim world is facing many issues but Palestine and Kashmir are the two issues that have been on the UN agenda for the last seven decades, Qaiser said, and urged the UN to play its role to resolve these issues.

“During the bilateral meeting with my counterparts in Islamabad, we will also discuss these issues,” he said.

“We [Muslim countries] need unity and we should work to strengthen the OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) to truly represent the Muslim world,” he said.

Read more: Children of war: Where is Israel’s morality?

Qaiser said that he also wrote letters to parliamentary heads across the world and urged them to play their role and raise their voice over killings of the Palestinian people by Israeli forces.

He criticized the international community’s “silence” over what he called war crimes and genocide committed by Israel and India, and said: “The world need to stand by justice.”

Anadolu with additional input by GVS News Desk

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