NA: (NA Speaker calls for establishment of regional parliament)

ISLAMABAD: Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq has stressed upon the need of establishment of a regional parliament comprising of SAARC, ASEAN and OIC countries.

He said that such platform would provide a forum for regional states to protect their common interests and tackle common issues. He said this while talking to a three member delegation of Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD), United Kingdom led by Ms. Dina Melham, Regional Director, who called on him here in Parliament House on Tuesday.

He mentioned that Parliament of Pakistan is going to design standard courses in Pakistan Institute for Parliamentary Services (PIPS) for secretariat staff of National Assembly and Provincial Assemblies for capacity building. He said that National Assembly is willing to build up its links with House of Commons to strengthen democracy and parliament by adopting best practices.

He stressed the point that desired cooperation should be carried out directly with the National Assembly without engaging any local or international NGOs as the third party. Sardar Ayaz Sadiq also highlighted the initiatives of the Parliament which has been taken during his tenure.

He mentioned that 1MW Solar Power Project for Parliament House was about to be completed which would turn it into Green Parliament. He also mentioned the e-parliament initiative that is in progress under the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) project of the National Assembly to save wastage of paper and resources.

He also highlighted the establishment of Legislative Drafting Council of the Parliament to improve the legislative work done. Speaker NA informed the delegation about working of non- partisan Women Parliamentary Caucus (WPC) that assists in legislative business ensuring equality and protection of women rights.

The Speaker mentioned the in-house initiative of Legislative Training in Secretariat headed by Additional Secretary Legislation to discuss, the Constitution, Rules and Procedure of the National Assembly in order to have create a better understanding of rules and functions of the Parliament.

However, he stressed that there was always a room for improvement that can be brought through different capacity building programs. He also extended his invitation to the British Pakistani Member Parliaments to visit Pakistan.

Ms. Dina Melham appreciated the efforts undertaken by the Parliament of Pakistan in strengthening democratic process in the country. She also praised the working of WPC in the National Assembly and agreed that UK and Pakistan can cooperate with each other over parliamentary and legislative affairs to learn from each other’s experience and WFD could play a bridging role in this regard.