ISLAMABAD - Stressing the need for introducing visa-free regime among Asian countries, Acting President and Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani has called for taking solid and practical steps to create an Asian Parliament.

“We need to move forward by introducing a visa-free regime among Asian countries,” the Senate chairman said during his meetings with different delegations on the sidelines of Asian Parliamentary Assembly (APA)’s Standing Committee on Political Affairs and Special Committee on Creation of Asian Parliament at Gwadar. The parliamentary delegations included of Turkey, Bahrain, East Timor, France, Iran, Inter-parliamentary Union (IPU) and APA Secretary General and others.

Secretary General of the IPU Martin Chung Gong also held meeting with chairman Senate. Sadiq Sanjrani while welcoming the IPU Secretary General said that excellent cooperation existed between IPU and the Parliament of Pakistan. He praised the technical cooperation between Pakistan and IPU in parliamentary sectors. Sanjrani said that Pakistan desired not only to expand socio-economic ties with Asian countries but would also propose for a visa-free regime. He informed that Pakistan was also planning to host Asian speakers’ conference which would provide an opportunity to share thoughts and exchanges views.  IPU Secretary General termed it a wise decision to organize and host APA committee meetings in Gwadar saying this helped in showcasing Gwadar properly before the world. He said that parliaments had a crucial role in pushing forward the development agenda.

In his meeting with Senator Pascal Alizard, Head of France- Pakistan Friendship Group; the chairman Senate said that delay in the finalization of master plan of Gwadar slowed down the development pace of this port city. “However, the plan would be finalized in December this year thus paving way for accelerated progress.” The French delegate said that Gwadar offered huge opportunities of investment.  Sanjrani said that foreign investors could take benefit of the huge investment potential in the area.

While talking to the APA Secretary General Muhammad Reza Majidi, the chairman Senate emphasized the need for more close collaboration between Pakistan and Iran. He said that the Asian countries needed to prioritize development and economic cooperation. APA secretary general said that the creation of Asian Parliament was proposed by Pakistan and Pakistan had huge importance in the region. Sanjrani said that there was a need to move beyond resolutions now and all countries needed to play a vibrant and robust role in this regard. The secretary general APA also endorsed the views of secretary general to chalk out a concrete roadmap in this regard. He proposed that a think tank comprising experts can play a significant role to this end.

While talking to the parliamentary delegation of Turkey, Sadiq Sanjrani said that Pakistan and Turkey had played an active role on the platform of APA and there was need to further boost this cooperation. He called upon Turkish investors to invest in different sectors in Gwadar. Turkish delegation also invited chairman Senate to visit Turkey. In his meeting with Iran’s parliamentary delegation, chairman Senate said that Pakistan and Iran were intertwined in historical and cultural relations and the bond of friendship between the two had cultural and religious similarities He said that both the countries share 920 km long border. He said that there was huge potential to play more significant role on the forum of APA.

In meeting with delegations from Nepal, Bahrain, Syria and East Timor, the Sadiq Sanjrani underscored the need for closer collaboration between parliaments and to work on developing people to people linkages.