Asian Parliamentary Assembly (APA) is the largest Inter-Asian forum of Parliaments. It was established in the year 2006 when the Association of Asian Parliaments for Peace (AAPP) was converted into Asian Parliamentary Assembly (APA) in Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran. The broad and diverse objectives of APA include promoting freedom, social justice, peace, sharing knowledge, exploiting human and natural resources for mutual benefit, and eventually working on integration of Asian States. Membership is open to National Parliaments of the sovereign States of Asia. Currently 42 Parliaments from Asia are regular Members, 16 Parliaments hold observer status along with 10 organizations.
Since 2013, Senate of Pakistan has been actively contributing towards the APA objective of Asian Parliament in different forms. During its two year term of APA Presidency (2013-2015), Pakistan successfully held two Plenary Sessions of APA. It was during 6th APA Plenary Session 2013 Islamabad that a proposal for creating a special committee to take further the task of establishing an Asian Parliament was discussed in detail and the concept was reflected in the ‘Islamabad Declaration’, 2013. The 7th APA Plenary, 2014 held in Lahore, approved the establishment of this “Special Committee on Creation of an Asian Parliament (SCCAP)”.
Pakistan has played a prominent role in the proceedings of SCCAP besides taking individual steps to promote the idea of Asian Parliament. The Senate of Pakistan unanimously passed the ‘Special Resolution for the establishment of an Asian Parliament’ on 10thMarch, 2015 and urged APA Member States to adopt similar resolutions in their respective Parliaments
Substantial proposals initiated by Pakistan were adopted to streamline the work of SCCAP. In the Standing Committee on Economic and Sustainable Development held on 26-27th July 2016, Islamabad, Senate of Pakistan brought forth a proposal to form six sub-regional-groups within APA to explore and reflect on the structure of the proposed Asian Parliament. In the same vain, the Senate of Pakistan convened the first Meeting of SCCAP for the year 2017 on 14-15 March, 2017. It was a momentous gathering of 23 APA Members. The meeting approved a land mark resolution titled “Towards an Asian Parliament” which was again an initiative of Pakistan and six sub-regional groups.
Senate of Pakistan has also held the Vice-Presidentship for the Standing Committee on Political Affairs for two consecutive years, 2017 and 2018. From 29-30th October, 2018, Pakistan hosted the Meeting of Standing Committee on Political Affairs and Special Committee on Creation of an Asian Parliament (SCCAP), in the Port City of Gwadar. Pakistan proposed to formulate an open ended working group on Asian Parliament as now more concentrated efforts were required to devise a roadmap. Subsequently, during the 11thAPA Plenary Session held in Turkey (28th Nov-3rd Dec, 2018) with Pakistan’s efforts the principal approval of Working Group on Asian Parliament has been documented in the Istanbul Declaration.
Given the proactive role and faith of APA Members in the leadership of Pakistan, Senate of Pakistan will again assume the Presidency of APA for two years in December, 2019. To realize the goal of Asian Parliament it is high time to further cement the parliamentary ties in Asia. Pakistan Senate leadership has always showed strong commitment to vigorously follow the aim and objectives of APA and make it more representative in form of Asian Parliament. Therefore, we the Asians, irrespective of color, creed and ideology must join hands to unite ourselves on one platform of Asian Parliament, there from marching towards political, social and economic rise of Asia.
Website of APA can be accessed at www.asianparliament.org/